It’s Heart Month! Strength Training Battles Heart Disease

​Everyone says they want to stay “young at heart.”

But are they willing to lift weights to do it?

Conventional wisdom has long held that running is better for heart health than weightlifting.

Some research says that’s not so. 

For example, in one survey, scientists looked at health records of 4,000 people. They concluded that, while both forms of exercise lower the risk of heart disease, weightlifting has a greater effect than running, walking or cycling, according to the British Telegraph. The study also supports earlier views that weightlifting is better for the circulatory system because the “oxygen expenditure” is more intense.

In the Canada, February is Heart Month, sponsored by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada​, to raise awareness and to help people lose weight, eat better, invigorate their exercise routines and more.   

Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults, and is the second leading cause of death in Canada (after cancer).

The good news: Heart disease can be prevented. Exercise and eating right are top tools for improving our heart health and lowering our risk for heart disease and heart attacks, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Exercise Is Crucial

For people over 50, exercise is vital – and that includes strength training. As most people age, their hearts get smaller and weaker, and major arteries can stiffen. That reduces or slows blood flow through the body.

All adults lose muscle mass as we get older – unless we train to minimize that loss.

Weightlifting among mature adults improves heart health by decreasing blood pressure and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol while improving “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Exercising and eating right also fight obesity, which contributes to heart issues.

Any exercise is good, of course. And weightlifting (or resistance training) also has other health benefits for people over 50. For example, it helps improve functional independence. And if you’re worried that “weightlifting” means “huge, bulky bodies,” rest assured: It’s just not the case.

Science Confirms Benefits Later In Life

Other studies suggest physical activity is good for your heart no matter what your age.

Being active keeps your heart stronger and healthier than being inactive. Physical activity can help control blood pressure, according to The National Institutes of Health.

That doesn’t mean you have to devote your life to the gym. Brisk walking – say, 20 minutes a day – is a great start. Regular exercise at a gym, fitness studio, pool or yoga class can bring even greater heart-health rewards.

The American College of Cardiology found that women over 70 who got at least some exercise were 11 percent less likely to develop heart failure than women who had no activity. Women with the most activity were 35 percent less likely to get heart disease!

The research is consistent, but there’s still no easy fix. You have to do the work to gain the benefits. I’d say it’s worth it!

Call us and we’ll help you get started!

Chicken and Veggie Casserole

This easy-to-make casserole is packed with the protein and veggies needed to fuel your fitness results. Feel free to modify the veggies used in this recipe. Add in whatever veggies you have on hand and enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

What you need Serves 6

  • 1 cup broccoli, diced 
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped 
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced 
  • 1 zucchini, sliced 
  • 10 oz ground chicken breast or turkey 
  • 4 cups liquid egg whites 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided 
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 casserole pan with olive oil.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil spray. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the squash and zucchini and sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and ½ teaspoon of both the onion and garlic powder. Once tender, transfer the veggies from the skillet into the prepared casserole pan.
  3. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and coat with olive oil spray. Add the ground chicken or turkey and sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon of both the onion and garlic powder. Cook, stirring often, until no pink remains. Add to the prepared casserole pan.
  4. Pour the egg whites over the veggies and meat in the casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until the edges have set and the top has browned. Feel free to garnish with a sprinkle of cheese, diced tomato and fresh parsley. Cut and serve. Enjoy!

Nutrition 154 calories, 1g fat, 300mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 1g fibre, and 31g protein

Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you get healthier and happier:

1) Come in for a Custom Fitness Consultation

We’ll sit down together and discuss your health history, your goals, and simple steps you can take to achieve them and see if there is a way to work together to give you the coaching and support you need to get the results you want.

 If you’d like to discuss meeting for a Consultation, just reply and put ‘Consult’ in the subject line and I’ll follow up with you.

2)  I have FREE Open Office Hours during the week where you can call in and speak to me about your goals.

 The call is just 15 minutes out of your week, but the insights you’ll discover could impact you for a lifetime! To schedule your FREE consultation, reply and put ‘Call’ in the subject line. We’ll set up a time that works for both of us.

3) Be my guest for a free training session.

 If you’d like to come in to attend a Beginner small group training session as my guest…just reply and put “Guest” in the subject line, and I’ll get you all the details.

 Shelley Turk