Weight Training Is Especially Beneficial for Black Men

In previous articles we’ve talked about the health disparities between men and women and how men live shorter, less-healthy lives than women. We’ve also talked about how men of color—especially African-American men—have even worse outcomes than other men (on average, Black men don’t live long enough to collect Social Security).

In this blog, we’re always on the lookout for strategies and insights that can help improve the lives of men and those who love them. And that’s why we were so excited by a recent study that found that weight training may actually be more beneficial for Black men than for Whites.

Weight training is important for everyone. It can not only increase strength, but also reduces the risk of bone fractures, and may even increase lifespan. But according to Bo Fernhall, dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as little as six weeks of resistance training has a positive effect on the blood vessels and may help reduce blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks. Oddly, these results were not seen in White men.

Given that Black men are far more likely to develop high blood pressure, have a stroke or heart attack, or suffer from kidney disease than Whites, this is especially important. In a news release from the University, Fernhall said, “This suggests that resistance exercise training is more beneficial in young African-American men than in [white] men of the same age.” African-American kids as young as 8 have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The study looked specifically at factors in the blood that are linked with arterial trouble and “oxidative stress.” It’s widely known that aerobic exercise—walking, running, swimming, sports—reduce oxidative stress and improve heart function and blood pressure. But now it’s clear that even if a man can’t do aerobic exercise, he can still get plenty of benefit from lifting weights.

If you’re not already regularly lifting weights, check with your medical provider before starting and work with a trainer to make sure you’re using proper technique so you can avoid injury.

This study was published in Journal of Human Hypertension.

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
Scroll to top