Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide that scientists believe is largely preventable. The condition most commonly occurs when blood flow to the brain suddenly stops. Subsequent oxygen deprivation to the brain can be fatal if not treated quickly. Fortunately, doing less than an hour of weight training a week can substantially reduce your risk of the deadly disease.
The research, published in Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise, found that lifting weights for less than an hour each week could protect the heart and brain from major cardiac events.
According to the results of the analysis, the risk of heart attack and stroke was reduced by 40 and 70 percent respectively.
The findings came from an analysis of 13,000 adults enrolled in the Center for Aerobics Longitudinal Study.
The scientists wanted to focus on measuring three different health outcomes.
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These were cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke leading to death, all cardiovascular events including death, and death from any cause.
DC Lee, associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study, said in a statement: “People may think they have to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but only two sets of bench press that take less than five minutes could be effective.
“Lifting any weight that increases muscle resistance is the key.
“My muscle doesn’t know the difference if I’m digging in the yard, carrying heavy shopping bags, or lifting a dumbbell.”
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One of the main benefits of strength training for cardiovascular health is the production of lean muscle mass.
By building muscle, people automatically burn more energy even if they are not aerobically active, which offers a lot of long-term benefits.
Professor Lee added that: “The results are encouraging, but will people make weight lifting part of their lifestyle? Will they do it and make me sick? That’s the million dollar question.”
One of the main positive health outcomes to look forward to is the lowering of cholesterol, which substantially reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.
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Studies have discovered a host of other health benefits that can be derived from weight training.
These were the focus of a 2019 study published in JAMA Cardiology.
The scientists found that subjects who performed just three 45-minute strength training sessions per week had significantly less fat around the heart, known as epicardial adipose tissue.
The resistance training group in the study, however, saw a 32 percent reduction in pericardial adipose tissue, another type of fat depot, while the aerobic exercise group saw no changes in this tissue.
Stroke risk factors
Stroke often results from years of poorly managed cholesterol and blood pressure, but the disease has many other known causes.
The Stroke Association lists two other main conditions that can predispose people to stroke; diabetes and atrial fibrillation.
The health body adds: “The way we live has a big impact on our risk of stroke. Things like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and eating unhealthy foods can damage blood vessels, raise blood pressure and make that the blood is more likely to clot.
“It’s never too late to make a change.”
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