Lifting Weights for a Healthier Heart

Lifting weights are one way to be healthy. Today, many people lift weights or are encouraged to lift weights because of its health benefits. If weight lifting is done along with aerobic exercise, then its benefits become even more apparent.

Many today agree that aerobic exercise isn’t enough to be fit. Fitness means having a healthy lifestyle, and for that to be true, it means having a total body transformation. Fitness includes weight training, aerobic exercises and proper nutrition.


Benefits of Lifting Weights

How does one then help with weight training? The benefits of weight training include an increase in muscle mass and in strengthening bone density.

Perhaps the most notable benefit of weight lifting is the growth in muscle mass and an increase in strength. The increase in muscle mass is necessary, especially if there is also a decrease in fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat. You should be able to increase muscle mass while also reducing fat, which would then lead to a much leaner physique.

Studies have shown that those who lift weights continue to burn calories even after a workout as opposed to those who only do aerobic exercise. It is again due to an increase in muscle mass. The optimal way to become leaner is to lift weight and do aerobics. In that way, calories are used efficiently even while resting and not working out.

Researchers suggest that weight lifting also promotes better blood circulation throughout the body than aerobic exercise alone as weight training would involve all the parts of the body. For example, in walking or jogging the feet are the ones that primarily move.

With weight lifting, especially for those who do whole body workouts, all parts of the body are being utilized. It is most true for compound exercises such as a bench press or squats. Secondary muscles not directly used, move as well to aid in lifting weights. Even stabilizer muscles are used in weight training. It applies to both compound and isolation exercises. Stability is needed to handle weights, especially those that are heavy.


What to Wear In the Gym

For comfort and ease of movement, it is often recommended to wear clothes that won’t restrict movement while lifting weights. Tight shirts and pants aren’t recommended then, especially shirts that have long sleeves. As much as possible, bodybuilding t-shirts are used. These shirts have short sleeves or are even sleeveless, allowing for much freedom of movement.

Another that is recommended in the gym is top rated wrist wraps that are on the market today. These are used to have protection on the wrist, which is necessary when lifting heavy weights. Wrist wraps, knee wraps and lifting belts are often recommended to be used while training for safety.



It is not surprising that weight training is accessible today as it gives many benefits to people. It helps in losing weight and is one of the best ways to reduce fat while at the same time adding muscle mass. Weight training helps in burning calories so make sure to wear the appropriate apparels and of course, bring your A – Game on!

Be smoke-free


Smoking is very bad for your heart. It greatly increases the risk of a heart attack, other types of heart disease and stroke.

Quitting smoking is the most important way to lower your risk of heart problems. The good news is that once you stop smoking, the extra risk is reduced quickly.

What smoking does to your heart

Smoking affects the vessels that supply blood to your heart and other parts of your body. It reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and damages blood vessel walls.

Smoking can increase the risk of:

  • stroke by 3 times
  • peripheral arterial disease (e.g. clogging of the arteries in your legs) by more than 5 times
  • an artery wall becoming weak and possibly rupturing by 6-7 times.

Cigarette smoke has thousands of chemicals, including these dangerous ones:

  • nicotine – an addictive drug that affects your brain and muscle activity, and increases your blood pressure, making your heart work harder
  • carbon monoxide – a poisonous gas that replaces oxygen in your blood, making your heart beat faster than usual
  • tar – a sticky substance that coats your lungs like soot in a chimney, making it hard for you to breathe, and that contains a variety of chemicals that cause cancer.

Second-hand smoke

Breathing in other people’s smoke (passive smoking) on a regular basis increases your risk of heart disease by about 30%. Try not to be around other people who smoke.


We don’t support using e-cigarettes. It’s better to stop smoking altogether.


Quitting smoking can be hard at first. But it’s like learning to ride a bike or drive a car  –  you can do it with planning, practice and help. The benefits of quitting outweigh any temporary difficulties or symptoms you may feel.

Plan to quit

  • Set a date for quitting.
  • Begin to change your habits.
  • Learn how to handle stress and urges to smoke.
  • Think about who and what can help you through the tough times.

Don’t give up

Many people slip up after they quit and start smoking again. Don’t see this as a failure. Instead think about what made you smoke again. How can you deal with this situation next time? What worked and what didn’t work? Learn from this and try quitting again. You become better at quitting each time you try.

Get help to quit

You can get lots of help to quit. Talk to your doctor or health practitioner about giving up smoking.

Call the Quitline (13 7848) or visit the Quit website.

You can also use the quit smoking action plan designed to help heart attack survivors. Learn more about recovering from a heart attack.



Great Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy

Be smoke-free

Being smoke free is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart. Read more about smoking

Manage your blood cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance carried in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to be healthy, but an imbalance of cholesterol in your blood can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Find out more about blood cholesterol and how to manage it

Manage your blood pressure

Blood pressure isn’t usually something you can feel. If it’s too high, it needs to be treated. Read about blood pressure and what you can do to control high blood pressure

Manage diabetes

It’s important to manage your diabetes to help prevent a heart attack or stroke. For information on managing diabetes, visit the Diabetes Australia website.

Be physically active

Regular, moderate physical activity is great for your heart health. It’s never too late to start and get the benefits. It’s also important to sit less during your day and break up your sitting time. Find out what you can do about getting active and sitting less

Get Regular Check Ups

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to have regular check ups with your doctor. Most insurance policies will cover these 100% as they can help prevent issues and even find issues early on so they are treatable and you can live a healthier life. If you don’t have health insurance you can get great health insurance in Springfield, MO through many different companies as well as dental insurance in Springfield, MO as your mouth health can be a great indicator of overall health as well.

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of heart disease and other health problems. It can help to know your body mass index and waist measurements and what these mean. Find out how

Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods

Eating a varied diet of healthy foods can help with your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Find out more about healthy eating

There are also specific changes you can make to your diet to help prevent heart disease:

  • Eat less salt: Reducing your salt intake is good for your blood pressure. Read about salt in your diet and ways to reduce it
  • Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats: Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can reduce your risk of heart disease. Easy ideas for making the switch
  • Limit alcohol: Read about alcohol recommendations and tips for cutting down on our drinks page.

Look after your mental health

We know that there can be a greater risk of heart disease for people who have depression, are socially isolated or do not have good social support. Having a good social life with family and friends can help.

Depression is more than feeling sad or low. If you feel depressed for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor, a family member or someone you know well.

For more information about depression, visit the beyondblue website


What is angina?

Angina is pain or discomfort that happens when your heart can’t get enough blood and oxygen.

Angina is caused by coronary heart disease.

Over time a fatty material called plaque builds up in your coronary arteries, making them become narrow. This reduces the blood flow to your heart, and sometimes it may not get as much blood as it needs.

Stable angina

Stable angina is chest pain that can occur during physical activity or extreme emotion.

Unstable angina

Unstable angina is chest pain that occurs suddenly and becomes worse over time. It happens seemingly without cause. You may be resting or even asleep.

If you have angina pain that lasts for more than 10 minutes call Triple Zero (000).

Prinzmetal angina

Prinzmetal angina (coronary artery spasm) is a temporary discomfort or pain caused by a spasm (constriction) in one or more of your coronary arteries, which can block the blood supply to your heart muscle. Spasms can range from very minor to severe, and sometimes may completely block the blood supply to your heart. Coronary artery spasm fact sheet (PDF).

Angina and heart attack

Angina is not a heart attack, but it is an indicator that you are at high risk of having a heart attack.

If you have angina your risk of having a heart attack increases.

Find out more about heart attacks and heart attack warning signs .


Angina causes pain or discomfort that usually feels tight, gripping or squeezing. It can vary from mild to severe.

People feel angina in many different ways:

  • You may feel angina in the centre of your chest.
  • It may spread to your back, neck or jaw. It may also spread to one or both shoulders, arms or hands.
  • You might feel it in other parts of your body but not in your chest.
  • You may not even have pain, but get an unpleasant feeling in your chest, or feel short of breath.

People can have symptoms at different times. Some get them early in the morning, or when resting or even sleeping. Some get angina in cold weather, after a heavy meal or after physical activity.

If you think you may have angina, see your doctor.

What to do if you have angina

  1. As soon as you feel angina symptoms, immediately stop and rest.
  2. If rest alone doesn’t relieve the symptoms, take a dose of your angina medicine. Sit or lie down before using your spray or tablet, because it can make you dizzy. Use the smallest dose you normally take (e.g. a full, half, or even quarter of a tablet).
  3. Wait 5 minutes. If the angina is not relieved, take another dose of your angina medicine.
  4. Wait another 5 minutes.
  5. Talk – if someone is with you tell them how you’re feeling, or call a relative or friend.
  6. Call Triple Zero (000) if your angina:
    – is not completely better within the 10 minutes you have waited or
    – is severe or
    – gets worse quickly.
    Ask for an ambulance. Don’t hang up. Wait for advice from the operator.


Your doctor may use one or more of these tests to check if you have angina:

  • blood tests
  • chest X-ray
  • coronary angiogram
  • coronary computed tomography angiogram (CCTA)
  • echocardiogram
  • electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI)
  • stress exercise tests.

Read more about medical tests.


Treatments can help with your angina symptoms and also help manage the heart disease that causes them.


Your doctor may prescribe medicines like nitrates to help relieve your angina episodes. Nitrates relax and widen blood vessels, letting more blood flow to the heart. The most common short-acting nitrate medicine is glyceryl trinitrate (GTN). Your doctor may prescribe other medicines too.

More about medicines.

Lifestyle changes

You may need to make some changes to help stop your heart disease getting worse. Read more about looking after yourself when you have heart disease.


If lifestyle changes and medicines don’t help you to manage angina, you may need a medical procedure to treat the underlying heart disease.

Recovering from a heart attack?

Learn more about heart attack recovery, including information on what happened to your heart, heart attack treatment and how you can recover sooner.