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Fitness & Health

30th Oct 2018

Weightlifting reduces your risk of early death by 40-70%, study shows

New research questions the concept that cardio training is best for heart health. Weight training can protect your ticker too

Alex Roberts

It has long been assumed that cardio training – rather than weight lifting – is best for heart health

Granted, aerobic exercise can boost your fitness levels and help you shed fat, but when it comes to protecting your ticker, weight training could arguably come up trumps.

A recent study put this theory to the test.

It looked at the impact of resistance training on heart health, heart disease and risk of early death. Not the most cheerful of subjects, but the results at least make for happier reading.

Regular weight training was found to reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 40-70%. This was even without any traditional cardio having taken place.

You don’t need to spend too long working out, either. Regular weight training was classed as:

  • One, two or three sessions a week
  • Various sessions adding up to at least 1 hour per week

That isn’t a huge chunk taken out of your free time.

Including some swimming, cycling and jogging in your weekly routine could improve your results even further, so this still shouldn’t be taken as a cue to skip cardio.

What kind of weight training?

Certain kinds of weight training – such as body part splits and super sets – manipulate rest periods so you can be done lifting in 30-45 minutes. You might see Conor McGregor or Cristiano Ronaldo spending multiple hours in the gym each day, but their goals are extremely specific to a sport.

Building some muscle, burning some fat and bettering your general health can all be achieved with shorter spurts of activity.

Which are the best exercises?

What works for you is a matter of getting in the gym and trying out different styles of training. But the lifts which provide the biggest bang-for-your-buck are compound exercises, hitting more than one muscle group at once.

Examples include:

  • Bench Press
  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Shoulder Press
  • Pull-Up
  • Tricep Dip

Read more from JOE’s Ditch the Dad Bod series