Optimum Dose of Resistance Exercise for Cardiovascular Health and Longevity: Is More Better?

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2023 Nov;25(11):1573-1580. doi: 10.1007/s11886-023-01976-6. Epub 2023 Oct 14.


Purpose of review: Although there is extensive research on how much aerobic exercise to prescribe in order to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and premature mortality, there is limited research on how much resistance exercise to prescribe. This review is to help fill important gaps in knowledge on effective minimum dose, beneficial optimum dose, and safe maximum dose of resistance exercise for CVD prevention and longevity.

Recent findings: In contrast to aerobic exercise where "some is good, more is better," recent observational studies suggested a J-shaped relation where more time in resistance exercise was associated with lower CVD risk and mortality only up to 40-60 min/week, beyond which risk reductions attenuated or even disappeared. While it remains unclear, postulated mechanisms that may underlie the higher CVD risk and mortality with higher resistance exercise doses include increased arterial stiffness and chronic inflammation. Current observational data suggest that "more may not be better" for dose-response relations of resistance exercise with CVD and mortality; however, this requires confirmation, especially from randomized controlled trials that directly test and compare multiple doses of resistance exercise. Until these data exist, it is prudent to recommend small doses of resistance exercise for cardiovascular health and longevity.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Dose-response; Mortality; Resistance exercise.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Exercise
  • Heart
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Resistance Training*