Question: What is the difference between endurance training and resistance training when it comes to heart health?
Answer: Endurance training is what we refer to as aerobic exercise. It may involve bicycling, it may involve walking on a treadmill, it may involve swimming. In contrast, resistance training involves pumping iron, so to speak, as Governor Schwarzenegger would say. It involves pumping iron and improving muscle strength and muscle endurance.
Both types of exercises are highly beneficial for patients with coronary disease. We find that aerobic exercise improves functional capacity to a better extent. On the other hand, resistance training improves muscle strength. It improves muscle endurance. It also favorably modifies many risk factors for heart disease. And most significantly it increases lean body mass or maintains lean body mass, which can be very helpful in terms of a weight reduction program.
Lastly, resistance training as muscles increase, or the strength increases, heart rate and blood pressure when lifting or carrying any given object is reduced. And as a result, resistance training also has cardiovascular benefits.