Recent Blog Articles
HIV rates rising: Could new forms of PrEP help?
Careful! Scary health news can be harmful to your health
Post-pandemic weight loss: There’s an app for that
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia by telemedicine: Is it as good as in-person treatment?
Prediabetes diagnosis as an older adult: What does it really mean?
Is blood sugar monitoring without diabetes worthwhile?
Large review study finds low risk of erectile dysfunction after prostate biopsy
Does exercise help protect against severe COVID-19?
A new Alzheimer’s drug has been approved. But should you take it?
Need physical therapy? 3 key questions your PT will ask
Power up your heart health
Add strength training to your home workout to boost your cardiovascular fitness.
With age, much of your body's muscle is replaced by fat. By age 75, lean muscle mass drops to just a quarter of your total weight, down from 50% in the young adult years. Some of the effects of this loss are clearly visible — your body changes shape, and you can no longer hoist heavy boxes or sprint to catch a bus. But this shift also carries broader implications for your overall health and chronic disease risk.
Your heart will thank you
Five of the modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease — inactivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, excess body fat, and diabetes — respond in varying degrees to strength training, says Elissa Huber-Anderson, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "Strength exercises increase muscle mass and burn body fat, thus reducing the risk for obesity. This type of workout also helps manage type 2 diabetes by decreasing abdominal fat and improving blood sugar control," she says. Strength training may also improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce resting blood pressure, which further lowers the risk to your heart.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.