Strength Training Can Dramatically Cut Your Risk of Stroke

strength training heart health

Trending News: Lifting weight less than an hour a week carries important health benefits


Just about everyone on the planet knows that strength training is an excellent way to keep the pounds off while sculpting a muscular, impressive physique.

But did you know that a minimal amount of weightlifting can also slash your chances of having a heart attack by more than half?

According to a new study from Iowa State University (ISU), it’s true. In fact, according to this new line of research, minimal weight lifting can also prevent having a stroke – by nearly 70%.


Investigators with ISU explored the link between strength training and cardiovascular disease in 13,000 adults. What they discovered was that lifting weights cuts down the chances of a person developing metabolic syndrome.

That’s the generic term for a host of ailments ranging from high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat.

When left unchecked, all of these can lead to serious medical problems like diabetes, strokes, and coronary disease.

Here is the best part. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym pumping iron to experience health benefits. According to the ISU study, lifting weights for less than an hour a week can have a dramatic impact on wellness.

“People may think they need to spend a lot of time lifting weights, but just two sets of bench presses that take less than 5 minutes could be effective,” said Duck-Chul Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at ISU and study author.

Related: How you lose muscle mass explained    

The study suggests that people who lift weights for less than an hour each week (when compared to folks who don’t) experience a 29% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Now it’s important to point out this study did not factor in  cardiovascular exercise, which may also benefit heart health. Still, the findings of this investigation are meaningful to those who are trying to live a longer, healthier life.

“Muscle is the power plant to burn calories. Building muscle helps move your joints and bones, but also there are metabolic benefits. I don’t think this is well appreciated,” said Lee. “If you build muscle, even if you’re not aerobically active, you burn more energy because you have more muscle. This also helps prevent obesity and provide long-term benefits on various health outcomes.”

The research on strength training and heart disease comes at a time when a previous study released in May revealed strength training can help people fight back against depression.

So, there you have it folks, yet another reason to hit the weights – heart health. How often do you pump iron? Do the findings from ISU motivate you to do some concentration curls?

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast