Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) continues to be the primary cause of death in Ireland. This is why The Irish Heart Foundation calls it “Ireland’s No.1 Killer” (Source: Irish Heart Foundation). CVD, usually known as heart disease, contributes to 1/3 of all deaths and one in five premature deaths every year. According to the Institute of Public Health, the number of Irish adults with Cardiovascular Diseases is set to rise by an alarming 40%, by the year 2020.
CVD includes a range of situations that disturb the structure, function, muscle, valves, or rhythm of your heart. Problems which can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina), stroke, or other severe and often fatal issues.
While there are many causes for heart diseases such as abnormal heart rhythms (by birth), family history, etc, the dominant reasons are seen as the abnormal build-up of cholesterol or fatty substances which accumulate on the inside walls of human arteries (coronary arteries). Unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, being obese or overweight, other health problems, smoking, etc can contribute to this build up. This means there is a lot you can do to reduce the risk of CVD.
Yes, getting your mind and body fit can be an effective strategy to avoid the risk of heart disease. When it comes to fitness, some old school of thoughts are 1) only Aerobic exercises are best and 2) people need to allocate a lot of time for workouts.
It’s true that Aerobics (training of large muscle groups for long periods of time with low to medium intensity) can improve performance and endurance, but experts say that muscular strength is more critical and beneficial for cardiac disease. As for the time is concerned, only a few sets of exercises per workout for 20 minutes three times a week, is sufficient. Don’t believe us? Here are the results of some of the latest research;
A recent study on Strength Training and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease) (Reference 1) revealed that there was a significant decrease in cardiovascular disease rates among those who participated in strength training compared to those who did not engage in any strength training.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) results (4,000 adults) claimed that strength training or weight training results in reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and it is more advantageous than Aerobic exercises such as walking, running or cycling.
Researchers from Iowa State University in the US conducted a large-scale study with 12,591 participants. The study revealed that resistance training or weight training is highly valuable for your heart and strength training for just an hour a week can reduce the risk of CVD by 40% to 70%. The study also concluded that investing more than an hour did not result in any added benefit (Source: Iowa State University). Amazing right?
Along with physical training, mind training is equally important to lead a healthy lifestyle. Studies indicate that lifestyle, stress and psychological factors can heavily contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Therefore ensure to add relaxation, meditation or do activities that you enjoy or a combination of each to your daily routine.
Over to you now! If you look after your mind and body, they will look after you. Fitness training with weights can have a significant impact on reducing heart risks and mind training can help you lead a focused and healthy life.
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Strength Training and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Eric J Shiroma, Nancy R Cook, JoAnn E Manson, MV Moorthy, Julie E Buring, Eric B Rimm, I-Min Lee. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2018 Jan 1. Published in final edited form as, Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Jan; 49(1): 40–46. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001063. PMCID: PMC5161704