Adolescent cardiometabolic risks had, until now, been associated with fitness issues, diet concerns, obesity, high cholesterol, and triglycerides among others. However, a recent study conducted at Baylor University has shown that a healthy relationship exists between strengthening exercises and improved cardiovascular health and reduced cardiometablic rates.
A study led by Dr. Paul M.Gordon, Ph.D., professor and chair of health, human performance and recreation department in Baylor’s School of Education, involved 1,400 volunteers, all boys and girls between ages 10 and 12. They were subjected to body strengthening exercises, after which their cardiometabolic risk factors were assessed against their strength to body-mass ratio, body fat, and cardiorespiratory fitness. It was found that these children had lower BMI (Body Mass Index- a ratio of body weight to height of an individual), lower percentage of body fat, healthy levels of triglycerides and HDL cholesterol and higher rates of cardiorespiratory fitness, which implied lower risk of cardiac complications and cardiometabolic disorders.
The research findings suggest that, in addition to aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, etc.) and following a proper diet, it is equally important to engage in body strengthening exercises as part of heart health as well.
Dr. Gordon explains that, ” Our study bolsters support for early strength acquisition and strategies to maintain healthy BMIs (body-mass index measurements) and body compositions among children and adolescents,” adding, “Unfortunately, to date, most clinical reports have focused on the safety or efficacy of strength training in pediatrics, rather than its potential viability for health outcomes.”
In this way, Dr. Gordon´s study contradicts the popular belief that only high BMI, low cardiorespiratory fitness, and excessive sedentary lifestyle can lead to cardiovascular abnormalities. Now, physical activities and strengthening exercises are seen as equally important in promoting cardiac health as well.
Other people participating in the study included Mark Peterson of University of Michigan; William Saltarelli of Central Michigan University; and Paul Visich of University of New England.