strength training older man smiling in gym with good heart health achieved without aerobic exercise

Strength Training Could Save Your Life

We know that aerobic exercise has a wonderfully preserving influence on the heart and lungs. But how does resistance training alone stack up to helping us lead longer, healthier lives? Can strength training impact heart health, without aerobic exercise?

Strength Training Without Aerobic Exercise

Muscles produce the mechanical work needed to be active and mobile throughout our lifetime. 

Maintaining the operating power of that vital machinery through regular strength training is a must for fending off the rust of sedentary living and keeping us moving, exploring and interacting with the world long into the afternoon of our lifetime.

Strength specialists have known for some time about the widespread effects of resistance training across many areas of physical and mental health. However, there is a lack of specific data on the protective effects of weight training against cardiovascular disease events and all-cause mortality. 

In a new study, researchers found that strength training without any aerobic exercise had resulted in significant improvements to heart health.

The study concluded:
Strength training is ”associated with approximately 40%-70% decreased risk of total CVD events, independent of aerobic exercise.” 

Even as little as one lifting session or less than an hour per week was associated with lower risks regardless of meeting aerobic exercise guidelines. 

They also found that resistance training indirectly lowered cardiovascular disease risk by decreasing BMI.

But, there was no significant risk reduction for higher weekly training of more than four times.

Graph of strength training associated with heart health without aerobic exercise from Liu, et al 2019

Strength Training Could Save Your Life, But

Glorious news for the lifting enthusiasts among us. For those who are interested but not yet committed, this is a big incentive to finally take up the iron.  

In short, strength training ticks a tonne of boxes and should be part of your long-term self-maintenance plan. It would also be prudent to ensure you've got your bases covered and include a little aerobic exercise too. Combined, you'll have the strongest and most important insurance policy you could ever take out. And, we'll get to have you around a little longer as well.  

We like it when you're alive. 

Strength training for heart health without aerobic exercise


  1. Associations of Resistance Exercise with Cardiovascular Disease Morbidity and Mortality. Liu, et al. 2019

About Danny James

Danny James is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer in Sydney, Australia with over 15 years of experience supporting national champions and international representatives to reach higher levels of performance and well-being in multiple sports. He lives with his beautiful wife and twins. Sign up for Danny's free newsletter and receive tips, insights, and exclusive email-only content.


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