Switching up your workouts could be the key to your heart health


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When you’re smitten with your go-to workout (be it spin class, power yoga, rowing, hula-hooping), mixing things up can feel like a drag. Why mess with a good thing? But new research presented at this year’s American College of Cardiology Conference shows that two-timing on your fave sweat sesh might help reduce your chance of developing the risk factors associated cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes).

Using data sourced from 4,086 adult participants in the 2005 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers analyzed how static activities (like strength training) and dynamic activities (like running) affect heart health. And guess what? “Static activity appeared more beneficial than dynamic,” says Maia Smith, PhD, statistical epidemiologist and assistant professor at St. George’s University in Grenada.

“Clinicians should counsel patients to exercise regardless…The important thing is to make sure they are engaging in physical activity.” —Maia Smith, PhD

A boon for lifters to be sure, but the news isn’t bad for treadmill devotees: “Patients who did both types of physical activity fared better than patients who simply increased the level of one type of activity,” says Dr. Smith. “Clinicians should counsel patients to exercise regardless…The important thing is to make sure they are engaging in physical activity.”

If you want to make the most of the the hour you have to hit the gym, make sure you’re giving those medicine ball slams as much attention as the stairclimber.

A couple other things you can do for your heart: Think happy thoughts and make sure your relationship is healthy.

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