“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 cause-and-effect relationship.