Resistance training for heart health

A recent Iowa State University study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise has shown that lifting weights for less than an hour a week may reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent.

It's common to see fitness fanatics and bodybuilders spending hour after hour at the gym. Whilst this may be needed for hypertrophy, their main goal, just a couple of sets per day of a good quality compound lift like squats, bench presses or deadlifts, will be enough to elicit a heart healthy response.

Based on data from nearly 13,000 adults, researchers measured three things: heart attack and stroke instances that didn't result in death, as well as all cardiovascular events including death and any type of death.

Regular weightlifting reduced the risk of all three.

The study's results show the benefits of strength training specifically. Running, walking, cycling or any other common aerobic styles of exercise don't cut it.

How to form good fitness habits #11- identify your stumbling points

We can all sometimes get a little carried away with our goal setting. This can be a good thing- it's always good to set a high bar, especially with something like fitness. If you underestimate yourself, you are destined never to progress, or to progress at a snail's pace.

However, optimism can also blind us to the grind of fitness training. It can make us ignore the harder parts of meeting goals and can lead to frustration when we inevitably fall short of the mark.

So, what do you do? How do you prepare for the challenges you will face?

One way is to identify your stumbling points- the points at which you may meet a challenge you cannot overcome.

Achieving your goal won't be easy, no matter how feasible it may be. However, if you take some time at the beginning of every training cycle- and, if needs be, at the beginning of every week or even every session- to think through your stumbling points, you will know the challenges when we come up against them. You will be that much more prepared to cope with them.