When it comes to heart health, not all workouts are created equal. New research shows that some types of exercise, such as strength training, are more strongly associated with reducing heart disease risks than other kinds of activities.
While any physical activity is important for heart health, so-called “static” activities — namely, strength training — are more heart-friendly than dynamic exercise such as cycling or walking. The findings were presented at a recent American College of Cardiology conference.
Researchers examined the exercise habits and cardiovascular risk factors of more than 4,000 Americans using data from a 2005 survey. After separating the participants according to age and exercise habits, researchers found both strength training and more dynamic activities such as walking and cycling deliver 30 to 70 percent lower rates of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Yet the association between cardiovascular benefits and exercise was strongest among younger people and those who did strength training. Strength training also was slightly more popular than dynamic exercise among both younger and older adults.
Next, researchers say they want to focus on more precisely defining the distinction between static and dynamic exercise.
So, if you’re interested in heart health, don’t abandon your bicycle or walking routine just yet: Hitting the gym, or the road for exercise, were almost equally popular among older adults. The important thing, researchers noted, is to make sure you’re engaging in some kind of physical activity.
Most kinds of exercise can be heart-healthy, some a bit more than others.