Deepika Laddu, PhD, a Senior Research Scientist at Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, has published exciting new research in Circulation concerning the health benefits of resistance training, particularly related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Dr. Laddu is coauthor on the paper, “Resistance Exercise Training in Individuals With and Without Cardiovascular Disease: 2023 Update: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association” (Circulation. 2023 Dec 7. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000001189), which found that resistance training can improve blood pressure, glycemia, lipid profiles, and body composition, as well as have positive effects on non-traditional CVD risk factors, such as cardiorespiratory fitness, endothelial function, and psychological well-being.
“Resistance training, which is more commonly known as strength training, isn’t just about building muscle — it’s proving to be a crucial ally in promoting heart health,” said Dr. Laddu. “This latest scientific statement offers a fresh perspective from the 2007 guidelines, emphasizing the mounting evidence that resistance training goes beyond its well-established benefits of improving muscle strength and function (although, let’s not underestimate the importance of that!). Its influence extends to highly pervasive heart disease risk factors seen in both high-risk and general populations, including obesity, hypertension, poor cholesterol profiles, and elevated blood sugar. This statement also dives into other patient-centered health benefits of resistance training across diverse groups, from pregnant or postpartum women to older adults, and those managing conditions like heart failure, peripheral artery disease, HIV, Alzheimer’s Disease, and chronic kidney disease.”
Dr. Laddu went on to explain, “Unfortunately, overall participation in any physical activity in the US is suboptimal and involvement in resistance training is typically much lower than traditional aerobic exercise, with clear disparities across demographic groups. So in addition to offering guidance on resistance training prescription components and providing sample exercises that can be adapted to individuals with varying risk levels or specific health conditions, this statement suggests strategies that can be used by health care providers to address barriers and promote or encourage resistance training for everyone. If I can draw one key takeaway from this statement, it is that resistance training, when appropriately delivered, stands out as a safe, effective, and versatile tool for enhancing cardiovascular and metabolic health, and overall well-being in adults throughout their lifespan.”
Dr. Laddu is a public health research scientist with expertise in cardiovascular disease epidemiology, diabetes, and obesity management in high-risk populations. She has published over 80 peer-review manuscripts on hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, obesity, and musculoskeletal disorders. Additionally, Dr. Laddu is a fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA), and has led and contributed to several clinical guideline statements.
Dr. Laddu received her doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in 2013 and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease prevention at Stanford University School of Medicine in 2016. Prior to joining Arbor Research in 2023, she held a position as an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago.