Everyone knows that the heart is the most vital organ in the entire human body. But even with this knowledge, we seldom care for it like we should. Due to the fact that most people nowadays have little to no time for exercise, and also choose to eat junk food on the go, heart disease risks are higher than ever among both the male and the female population.
Cardiovascular disease, or CVD for short, is an umbrella term that covers a variety of afflictions. These include arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects, as well as other blockages and conditions that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Fortunately, these outcomes can easily be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death among both men and women, killing over 600,000 Americans each year. Symptoms include pain in the chest, arms, legs, and neck, as well as numbness, angina, and shortness of breath. Left untreated, consequences could be dire.
The Mayo Clinic mentions 30 minutes of daily exercise as being one of the best ways to prevent CVD, along with a healthy diet and stress management. Needless to say, cardio and aerobics are the best types of exercises that promote heart health. The list of these includes indoor rowing and cycling, high-intensity interval training, circuit training, and plyometrics.
For example, you can try circuit training if you want to combine aerobics moves with a total strengthening workout and achieve maximum fitness results while still keeping a healthy heart. Similarly, if you’re looking for a full upper body workout, find out more about the topic first and see if it suits your needs and preferences.
All in all, depending on what you enjoy doing, there is certainly an exercise out there for you which you can use to improve your heart health. In addition, even the most unexpected activities can help in this respect, and one of them has to be bodybuilding for sure. In spite of its unfavorable reputation, it is a true ally.
How Bodybuilding Helps
Truth be told, when one thinks of physical activities that promote heart health, bodybuilding isn’t anyone’s first choice. In fact, it’s a well-known fact that training too intensively on this front can lead to cardiovascular complications. A 2006 study cited by LiveStrong.com has demonstrated that things go wrong once you attempt to lift at least half your body weight.
This can lead to a ruptured aorta, which is the large valve that pumps blood out of your heart and into the body. And to make matters worse, one-third of the studied cases resulted in death. Nevertheless, this happens only when and if you exaggerate your goals. Natural bodybuilding is actually beneficial for your circulatory system. Here are three reasons why.
First and foremost, bodybuilding can lower your cholesterol. Of course, the activity in itself doesn’t do much of anything in this respect. However, weightlifting is more of a lifestyle than anything else because it also implies a strict regiment of self-care and a specialized meal plan that can properly sustain workouts. The latter is what helps in this respect.
The best example of this is the case of Jason Ho, a bodybuilder who went on a special diet which was low in fat and carbs, but high in protein in order to sustain his goals. As a consequence of this change, his LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels dropped towards a more favorable number, which improved his health as a positive consequence.
As a workout, bodybuilding has been known to lead to a heightened blood pressure level. But when performed appropriately and without going overboard and pushing your body to unhealthy limits, it’s actually quite beneficial on this front. Over time, it can even be a viable treatment for hypertension.
A study conducted by the Federal University of São Paulo’s Department of Biophysics and published in the Journal of Human Hypertension in 2012, a total of twelve weeks of weightlifting has been shown to help decrease blood pressure in the case of people suffering from hypertension.
To preserve the accuracy of the research, the fifteen participants were taken off their medication during these three months. And results were more than telling. Even without the help of their antihypertensive pharmaceuticals, all those who took part in the trials held in São Paulo have shown a significant decrease in terms of blood pressure.
Promotes Healthy Living
Last, but certainly not least, the entire lifestyle behind being a bodybuilder is something that decreases cardiovascular disease risks. As previously mentioned, this training doesn’t consist of the exercises alone, but also a special self-care regiment and an extremely targeted diet. Furthermore, people who practice this sport are encouraged to quit all their vices.
Therefore, someone who partakes in weightlifting and such will most likely steer clear of alcohol at all times and be a non-smoker. Prescription medication and other recreational substances are also off the table because they can interfere with progress, which is something no pro wants to be subjected to.
In many ways, being a bodybuilder promotes a similar brand of healthy living that is recommended for people who are prone to CVD during their lives. Exercising daily and minding what you eat, as well as quitting your vices, are equally important staples of this prevention strategy, and the sport has them all.
Although excess can lead to unwanted complications, when bodybuilding is performed right, it has amazing results on your heart health. This activity helps lower heart attack and stroke risks by lowering cholesterol and managing blood pressure, which is possible thanks to the healthy lifestyle that comes along with it.
Nevertheless, it is still worth noting that weightlifting is one of the most intensive training sessions you can undertake. Therefore, if there is even the smallest chance of complications ever arising, make sure to consult with your physician. He or she will provide you with all the insight on the matter that you will ever need.
Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of ExerciseBikesExpert. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought.”