Lifting weights is better for heart health than running or walking, new research has found.
Looking at the health records of more than 4,000 people, scientists have concluded that static activities like weight lifting or press-ups have a greater effect on reducing the risk of developing heart disease than an equivalent amount of dynamic exercise like running, walking or cycling.
The result of the research challenges commonly held assumption that so-called “cardiovascular” pursuits such as running are of the greatest benefit to the heart.
However, it backs up previous studies suggesting that heavy static exercise gives the circulatory system a better workout due to more intense oxygen expenditure.
The Chief Medical Officer for England recommends that adults spend at least 150 minutes on the moderate-intensity physical activity each week, comprising a mixture of static and dynamic activity.
Researchers analyzed cardiovascular risk factors, including overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, as a function of self-reported dynamic and/or static activity in 4,086 American adults that took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005 to 2006.
The researchers then adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, and smoking and stratified by age, over 45 or 21 to 44 years old.
Totally, 25 per cent of older and 36 per cent of younger adults engaged in static activity, and 21 per cent of older and 28 per cent of younger adults engaged in dynamic activity.
It was found that taking part in either type of activity was associated with 30 – 70 per cent lower rates of cardiovascular disease risk factors; however, associations were strongest for static activity and in youth.
Prof Smith said one interesting takeaway was that both dynamic and static activity was almost as popular in older people as younger ones.