Cardiovascular Health: How Weights Can Help

Weight training can help us to improve our cardiovascular health. It also allows us to enjoy the benefits of a variety of exercises, including ones you can do at home.
Cardiovascular Health: How Weights Can Help

Last update: 02 December, 2018

Some people think that weight training means neglecting your cardiovascular health by not doing cardio. However, the effort required by lifting dumbbells, plates, and bars can also be good for your cardiovascular health. Read this article to learn more.

The importance of weight training

Nowadays, weight training has been overtaken by other trendy forms of exercise. For this reason, many think that this discipline isn’t good for your health.

However, it’s actually one of the best options in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The main goal of weight training is to tone and build the muscles. To this end, you need endurance and strength.

Woman holding heart monitor

Although it’s ideal to also do cardio before or after your weight routine (e.g. stationary bike), in terms of strengthening the muscles, dumbbells and bars should be enough.

Cardio may help us burn fat and build endurance, but weight training has its own set of interesting benefits. These include reduced risk of osteoporosis, improved posture, increased strength, and preventing the loss of muscle mass.

Of course, we should also mention the aesthetic factor. Well-toned arms are synonymous with beauty in western countries. In addition, the discipline and commitment demanded by the routine are noteworthy unto themselves.

Many people avoid weight training for fear of suffering an injury. Others worry about developing one part of the body out of proportion with the rest. Some women even believe this kind of exercise “masculinizes” them.

However, if you have the guidance of a good trainer, practice proper technique, and use weights in line with your ability level, none of these things need to happen.

Are weights good for cardiovascular health?

As we’ve said before, weight training offers a variety of benefits. But there are still other positives to consider: improved health, healthier aging, injury prevention, and a better quality of life.

Woman doing weight training

Until recently, improved cardiovascular health was not considered among the advantages of weight training. But this isn’t the case. Lifting weights can increase blood flow in the area being worked out. In this sense, it’s easy to understand how this can benefit our hearts.

While its cardiovascular and respiratory benefits may not be on the level of cardio, we shouldn’t underestimate the improvements that weight training can offer.

To maximize these benefits, you need to go beyond bars and dumbbells, adding a bit of movement to your workout sessions.

A high-intensity weight training routine, including 5 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise, can increase the amount of oxygen in the body and improve blood flow.

As such, a weight session helps improve the health of your veins and arteries in a way that’s similar to cardio.

Potential negatives

Let’s consider another theory. There are some who think that weight training is actually bad for your cardiovascular health. The problem lies in the pressure that the body needs to exert to lift the weights, which can have a negative impact on your heart.

A comprehensive weight training routine, especially one on a professional or competitive level, can have harmful effects on veins and arteries. This includes the carotid artery and the veins of the neck.

Pay close attention when working out the biceps or triceps. When lifting the arms, veins in the forehead and neck become more pronounced. This is because they tense up and make too much of an effort. The same thing happens to the heart, although we can’t see it.

In order to avoid weight training negatively affecting your cardiovascular health, we recommend consulting with a doctor. He or she can perform different tests and tell you whether or not this kind of routine is right for you. The doctor may also tell you how to complement it with cardio. This way, your heart, and muscles will work more smoothly, allowing you to reap all of the benefits that weight training has to offer.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.