bench press

High blood pressure in African-American children can begin as early as eight to 10 years of age which predisposes this group to diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease much later in life. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago led a six week study on 15 African-American men and 18 Caucasian men who were matched for body mass index, cardiovascular fitness and age which resulted in the findings that weight training can significantly improve blood markers of cardiovascular health in young black men. The report was published in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

According to an article in the Science Daily, the researchers, led by Bo Fernhall the dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences, measured blood markers associated with inflammation, immune response or the remodeling of arteries that normally occur after tissue damage, infection or other types of stress.

“They found that levels of two of these markers dropped significantly in African-American men but not in Caucasian men after six weeks of resistance training,” the article states.

The study, funded partially by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, provides that high blood pressure, which is extremely prevalent in African Americans, can be combated with adequate resistance training. This may be appealing to those who have an aversion to aerobic exercise like running on the treadmill or playing sports and would rather lift weights.

“The overall goal of our departmental research here at the U. of I. is to explore the use of exercise as adjunct therapy for disease, while providing a public health message and evidence about how exercise is beneficial, even at an early age,” said Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Jeffrey Woods, a co-author on the study to Science Daily.

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