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Aerobic Exercise Coupled with Weight Training Found to Be Best Prescription for Heart Disease

Researchers by Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina tested 3 groups of sedentary participants for affects of exercise on improved heart health. Aerobics reigns supreme but offers even better results if couple with strength training.


August 2, 2011--Aerobic exercise has consistently been found to be a very effective means for optimal heart health and reduction in hypertension, but a new study out of Duke University suggests that there is additional benefit when aerobics is coupled with strength training. 

The theory is that aerobic exercise will burn calories and elevate the heart rate. This results in belly fat loss and a stronger heart muscle, both of which are good markers for a healthy cardiovascular system. 

However, by adding weight training, the study found an increase in lean muscle mass that is beneficial to overall health, but in particular now to heart health. 

Researchers led by Lori Bateman of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina randomly assigned 196 overweight, sedentary adults to three different exercise programs.One group did solely resistance training 3 days a week using weight machines. A second group solely did two hours of aerobic training per week on cardio machines. The third group was assigned to do both the weight-training and aerobic-exercise programs. 

On average, study participants in the weight-training only group gained about 1.5 pounds of body weight but without improving any of their other heart or diabetes risk factors. 

Those in the aerobic group only lost an average of 3 lbs. of body fat and ½" from their waistline.Better Results with Both Weight Training and AerobicsThose who did both weight and aerobic training had better results. They dropped about 4 lbs. of weight and 1" of waistline. That group also saw a decrease in diastolic blood pressure and a drop in a "metabolic syndrome" score that reflects combined heart and diabetes risk factors.The researchers said it wasn't clear if the apparent marginal benefits of the combination regimen -- the 4 lbs. weight loss versus 3 lbs. were due to the effects of weight training, or just more total time in the gym. 

Resistance training builds muscle and bone, which can actually add weight to the body, although it is leaner body mass. 

Both the aerobic-only group and the combined-exercise group also lowered their levels of triglycerides -- a type of fat in the blood 


Posting date: 08/02/2011 

Source: American Journal of Cardiology

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