Gaining mass can help your heart – muscle mass, that is! Coronary heart disease remains the number one killer in the UK, according to Heart UK.
The good news is that heart disease is avoidable and even reversible. Fitness that directly correlates with cardiorespiratory fitness has long been a focus for optimal health. Cardiorespiratory refers to the heart, blood vessels and lungs.
Whilst this is still known to be true, new research has found that cardiorespiratory fitness wins half the battle. Adding muscle mass wins the other, but it turns out that incorporating some fun strength training to your running, swimming, cycling or walking routine may be even more rewarding than ever thought possible.
The DL on CVD
If you live in a developed country, you are at higher risk of developing a condition that falls under the umbrella of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Heart disease is a condition associated with high cholesterol along with a thickening and loss of elasticity in arteries which results in damage of the artery walls.
The damage to tissue and build-up of cholesterol-rich plaques within arteries results in decreased oxygen and blood supply to the heart muscle and, inevitably, death of the heart muscle; most commonly known as a heart attack.
Heart disease, while it does not correlate with age, does register as the primary cause of death in developed countries. Risk factors include those associated with a fast-paced, high stress, sedentary lifestyle. They include lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, alcohol and tobacco use.
Mixing Up the Old Routine
Adding new moves to an old routine can be both fun and scary. Most importantly, you want to make certain that when adding strength training to any routine, that you are using the proper body mechanics. You may also like to research your abundant strength-training options.
For the busy professional a high intensity interval training (HIIT) routine or circuit training can be fun and efficient choices. HIIT combines aerobics and strength training into one fun, but intense workout.
Yoga, Pilates or a mixture of the two (known as Pi-Yo) can be muscle-strengthening and add the benefits of stretching as well. Any of these routines may be mixed in with familiar aerobic routines such as walking, running, biking or swimming.
Adjusting your fitness routine to incorporate strength training may involve learning new exercises and techniques, exploring new classes and making new friends. No matter how you approach making your changes, incorporate them gradually. The change should be fun and not overwhelming. Find a great trainer to show you the ropes, granted that is within your budget. Your heart will thank you.