Can Strength Training Improve Heart Health? Here’s What Science Says

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For years, the fitness world hailed cardio as the ultimate heart protector, leaving strength training in its shadow. However, a recent revelation from the American Heart Association has upended this narrative, highlighting the profound heart health benefits of strength training. This paradigm shift marks a significant milestone, as it brings mainstream recognition to the transformative impact of strength training on cardiovascular wellness.

Understanding the Insights

Contrary to conventional wisdom, strength training emerges as a formidable ally in fortifying heart health, boasting a host of benefits akin to traditional cardio exercises. The American Heart Association’s thorough examination, drawing from 96 studies, underscores that strength training can substantially enhance various aspects of cardiovascular wellbeing. These include managing blood pressure, reducing diabetes risk, controlling cholesterol levels, uplifting mood, and promoting better sleep quality, among others.

The Science Behind Heart Health Enhancement

Delving into the science, strength training mirrors the cardiovascular effects of traditional aerobic activities. It elevates heart and respiratory rates, fuelled by heightened oxygen demand during muscle contractions. Furthermore, the metabolic activity of muscle tissue aids in regulating blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity, and modulating cholesterol levels. Additionally, substances released by muscles, known as myokines, play a crucial role in mitigating inflammation—a key factor in vascular health.

Practical Implications for Everyday Life

  • A Balanced Exercise Approach: Dispelling the notion of an either/or scenario between strength training and cardio, individuals are encouraged to embrace an integrated fitness routine that encompasses both modalities. By harnessing the synergistic benefits of resistance and aerobic exercises, people can maximise their cardiovascular health gains, leading to a cumulative reduction in overall mortality risk.
  • Empowering Personal Engagement: With a significant proportion of the population underestimating the benefits of strength training, the findings serve as a catalyst for individuals to explore this avenue for themselves. By bridging the gap between knowledge and action, people are empowered to incorporate strength training as a vital component of their wellness journey.
  • Overcoming Common Hurdles: Recognising prevalent misconceptions surrounding strength training, individuals are encouraged to adopt a tailored approach to make it accessible and enjoyable. Through empathetic understanding and personalised planning, barriers such as complexity, time constraints, discomfort, or resource availability can be addressed, paving the way for sustained engagement.

The groundbreaking insights from the American Heart Association shed light on the transformative potential of strength training in nurturing heart health. By embracing evidence-based recommendations and adopting a personalised approach, individuals can embark on a journey towards enhanced cardiovascular wellness. Together, let us break down barriers, cultivate resilience, and embark on a collective quest towards a heart-healthy lifestyle.


Paluch AE, Boyer WR, Franklin BA, Laddu D, Lobelo F, Lee DC, et al. Resistance Exercise Training in Individuals With and Without Cardiovascular Disease: 2023 Update: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2024 Jan 16;149(3):e217–31.

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