-- Alan Mozes
THURSDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A little weight training
may go a long way toward helping improve the heart health of black
men, new research suggests.
Just six weeks of resistance exercise appears to have a positive
impact on the blood levels of key indicators for inflammation,
immune response and/or artery shape among black men. Such
indicators, or "markers," are known to rise in conjunction with
tissue damage, infection and stress. But after weight training,
levels of two of the markers dropped in these patients, the
However, while the association was observed among black men it
was not found among white exercisers. This caveat tracked an
earlier finding by the same research team that showed that while
black men who lifted weights experienced a drop in an important
post-injury/infection inflammation marker known as C-reactive
protein, white men did not.
"This suggests that resistance exercise training is more beneficial in young African-American men than in [white] men of the same age," Bo Fernhall, dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), said in a university news release.
Fernhall, who led the study as a professor in the department of
kinesiology and community health at UIC's Urbana-Champaign campus,
and colleagues reported their findings online recently in the
Journal of Human Hypertension.
The researchers noted that in the United States, cardiovascular
disease -- particularly in the form of high blood pressure (or
hypertension), stroke and kidney disease -- is more prevalent among
blacks than whites.
"Higher blood pressures in African-American children have been shown as young as 8 to 10 years of age," Fernhall said. "So there's obviously something going on that predisposes the African-American population to end-stage disease, hypertension and stroke and the more debilitating diseases later on in life."
The focus of the current investigation was on indicators in the
blood that signal arterial trouble, including one involved in blood
vessel remodeling and one that signals oxidative stress.
Levels of both dropped among black men who lifted weights. Study
co-author Marc Cook, a UIC doctoral student, pointed out that this
builds on prior research that has shown that aerobic activity also
helps to lower levels of oxidative stress markers.
"[So] if you don't like cardiovascular exercise, if you don't like running on a treadmill, if you can't play basketball or you're not good at it, you can lift weights and improve your health, especially when it comes to high blood pressure," Cook said. "If you just want to lift weights and you do it on a regular basis, you could improve your function."
While the study found an association between cardiovascular
health and weight training in black men, it did not prove a
For more on blacks and heart disease, visit the
American Heart Association.
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