Strength Training Lowers Heart Disease Risks, Aerobics Eases Pain

by VR Sreeraman on Jul 13 2009 3:20 PM

Strength training helps lower heart disease and stroke risk factors, while all-around exercise reduces neck and shoulder pain, suggests a new study.

Lead researcher Dr. Mogens T. Pedersen, of the University of Copenhagen, says that strength training and all-around exercise are a valuable part of work site exercise programs that have multiple benefits.

During the study, the researchers randomly assigned 841 Danish employees to two exercise groups.

One group did all-around exercise like aerobics and walking, while the other focused on strength training, particularly on the shoulder and cervical spine (neck) muscles.

A third group received no exercise program at work.

The researchers found reductions in cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure and body fat, in not only those assigned to aerobic exercise, but also in those who did strength training.

The average reduction in blood pressure was big enough to lead to a 25 percent reduction in stroke risk.

Both types of physical activity also reduced back and shoulder pain by nearly 30 percent, when compared to the no-exercise group.

Dr. Pedersen and colleagues write: "These positive health-related adaptations occurred in spite of relatively small changes in physical capacity."

The study has been published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.