Lifting weights is better than cardio for heart health, study finds 2 years ago

Lifting weights is better than cardio for heart health, study finds

Good news for everyone that dreads stepping onto a treadmill

Everything you thought you knew about weightlifting and cardio could be set to change. Cardio has long been seen as the training method of choice for people looking to improve heart health.


But that could be misleading, if the findings of a recent study are anything to go by.

According to research published in JAMA Cardiology, lifting weights trumps cardio when it comes to protecting your ticker.

When found in close proximity to your heart, certain kinds of fat have the potential to cause heart attacks and heart disease.

Weightlifting versus cardio for heart health

Eager to see which style of training was best for reducing fat around the heart, scientists took a group of inactive people with abdominal obesity, and followed them for 12 weeks.

The group was split three ways:

  • One group lifting weights three times a week for 45 minutes each session
  • Another group conducting HIIT cardio sessions three times a week for 45 minutes each time
  • A third group with no physical training

After the 12 weeks were up, scientists discovered that both weightlifting and cardio reduced one type of fat (epicardial). However, only weightlifting lowered levels of pericardial fat tissue.

Don't be too baffled by these terms.

According to the American Diabetes Association, "epicardial fat is the fat immediately adjacent to the heart, whereas pericardial fat is the outer fat accumulation of the heart."


Ideally, you'd look to limit levels of both for long-term health and longevity.

These findings are proof that pumping iron isn't just about building bigger biceps so you can get more likes on that Instagram picture. Further studies have also found that weightlifting can reduce your risk of an early death by as much as 40-70%.

Training for muscle growth more than anything else? The healthier your cardiovascular health, the greater your endurance will be in general. You'll be able to shift the heaviest dumbbells around the gym for longer.

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