Do you shy away from weight lifting and resistance training because A) it looks boring, and B), you don’t want to look like the hulk? Well, according to new research, weight lifting can protect the heart and even help you live longer. That doesn’t mean you need an expensive gym membership though! You can get the benefits right at home, too. 

Why weight lifting protects your heart

Last month, the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal published a study looking at the associations between resistance training and cardiovascular disease and longevity. 

Associate professor of kinesiology, D.C. Lee, Ph.D. and his team observed approximately 13,000 adults over the course of 10 years. 

They found that when individuals engaged in strength training activities, like weight lifting, for as little as an hour each week, they had a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by a whopping 40 to 70 percent.

One of the reasons why that was the case is because people who did some form of weight lifting had 30 percent less risk for both metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol levels – both of which are risk factors associated with heart attacks and stroke.

What kind of weight lifting should you do?

Free weights and gym machines are all great ways to get started. But what if you don’t go to the gym, or you’re not a fan of weights?

As long as you’re increasing your muscle activity, you can support your heart and health, too. So, things like carrying shopping bags, holding your child, yoga, or working out with elastic bands all count. 

How long should you weight lift? The study concludes that less than one hour per week of resistance training is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.  That comes to about 8 minute per day!

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