Heart Benefits of Lifting Weights

| October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

As you start to adapt a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and exercising, you will lose excess fat in your body. Everyone knows this. Often, you will notice your waist become a bit slimmer and perhaps you lose a bit of weight in your face or legs as well. However, there is a different type of fat reduction that most people don’t consider, and that is losing excess fat around your heart.

New studies have suggested that lifting weights and doing other types of strength training could be one of the best ways to reduce the fat around your heart. Let’s first talk about the different types of fat in your body.

The two types of cardiac fat tissue are epicardial and pericardial. Epicardial tissue is what encompasses your heart and your coronary arteries. Pericardial tissue, on the other hand, surrounds the epicardial tissue. While these two types of fat tissue are located close together around your heart, they have different properties and functions. For example, your epicardial fat tissue uses the same blood supply that your heart does, while your pericardial fat tissue gets blood from other surrounding blood vessels.

Because epicardial fat tissue has direct contact with your heart and shares the blood supply, it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. However, there is not as much information regarding the health risks related to pericardial fat because it does not have direct contact with your heart. However, experts believe it may have an impact on your cardiovascular function in an indirect, yet significant way.

Recent research completed in Denmark looked at a random sample of 50 people with abdominal obesity to see if strength training and endurance training could impact both epicardial and pericardial fat tissue. During this study, the 50 participants broke down into three sections. One group did high-intensity interval training three times a week, another group did both resistance and strength training three times a week, and the third group did no type of exercise. The study lasted for 12 weeks.

Both groups that engaged in exercise improved their VO2 max, however, only the resistance- training group was able to improve their strength. The people who did resistance and endurance training were able to reduce their epicardial fat tissue by 32 percent, while those who solely engaged in HIIT training reduced their epicardial fat by 24 percent.

When it came to pericardial fat, those in the endurance-training group saw no changes in the amount of this tissue they had around their hearts. However, those who participated in resistance training saw a 32 percent reduction in pericardial fat tissue.

These findings show great promise for developing guidelines to help people reduce their levels of pericardial fat through strength training. The new evidence that this study offers shows that different types of exercise can impact the fat tissue around your heart in independent ways, even when you take any dietary changes into account.

The researchers were surprised to see that resistance training was able to reduce both types of cardiac fat, but endurance training alone, was unable to accomplish this. When trying to explain why this may be true, researchers posit that resistance training requires you to use more of your muscle mass and burns more calories during the process. Using more of your muscle mass means that you will burn more calories throughout the day when you are finished exercising, meaning that the fat around your heart may continue to burn away after you are finished with your strength training exercises.

In order to improve your heart health, the best thing to do is to combine strength training and cardiovascular training on a regular basis. This is because, while endurance training proved itself to offer a more significant increase in reducing epicardial fat, resistance training can not only decrease fat, but also improve strength.

This study shows that people should do a variety of exercises in order to prevent cardiovascular disease from creeping up in the future. Both strength and endurance training can impact the amount of cardiac adipose tissue that you have, and because these fat tissues are an emerging risk factor for heart health, it is important to ensure that you keep these levels of fat in check.

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