FEB 01, 2024 9:00 AM PST

Mix of Cardio and Strength Training Cuts Heart Risks

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research published in the European Heart Journal has shown that participating in an exercise regimen of half-cardio and half-strength training reduces cardiovascular risk as much as only participating in aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk in previous studies, but this new finding opens up new possibilities for varying workouts to lower risk.

The randomized controlled trial included 406 adults who had high blood pressure and who were overweight or obese at the start of the study. The participants were split into four groups that were assigned a specific exercise type: only aerobic, only resistance, combined resistance and aerobic, or no exercise (as a control). Each group completed an hour of supervised exercise three times per week for one year. During that time, their cardiovascular disease profiles were monitored, including measurements of blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting glucose, and percent body fat.

The results showed that the group who did only aerobic exercise and the group that did a mix of aerobic exercise and resistance exercise both saw a decrease in their composite cardiovascular disease risk. The resistance-only group did not see a decrease in composite cardiovascular risk, but this group showed improved muscular strength. Additionally, all three exercise groups showed significant decreases in percent body fat compared to the control group.

The lead author of the study noted that these results provide a new avenue for improving heart health. Some people may have joint pain that prevents certain aerobic activities, and other people may simply get bored with only doing cardio. This study has shown that a mix of cardio and resistance training is just as effective for improving heart health, and this mix has the additional benefit of improving muscle tone and strength. These findings may lead to new exercise recommendations for people who are at high risk of heart disease.

Sources: European Heart Journal, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...