Artero, Enrique G.; Lee, Duck-chul; Lavie, Carl J.; Espana-Romero, Vanesa; Sui, Xuemei; Church, Timothy S.; Blair, Steven N.
Physical fitness is one of the strongest predictors of individual future health status. Together with cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), muscular strength has been increasingly recognized in the pathogenesis and prevention of chronic disease. We review the most recent literature on the effect of muscular strength in the development of cardiovascular disease, with special interest in elucidating its specific benefits beyond those from CRF and body composition. Muscular strength has shown an independent protective effect on all-cause and cancer mortality in healthy middle-aged men, as well as in men with hypertension and patients with heart failure. It has also been inversely associated with age-related weight and adiposity gains, risk of hypertension, and prevalence and incidence of the metabolic syndrome. In children and adolescents, higher levels of muscular fitness have been inversely associated with insulin resistance, clustered cardiometabolic risk, and inflammatory proteins. Generally, the influence of muscular fitness was weakened but remained protective after considering CRF. Also, interestingly, higher levels of muscular fitness seems to some extent counteract the adverse cardiovascular profile of overweight and obese individuals. As many of the investigations have been conducted with non-Hispanic white men, it is important to examine how race/ethnicity and gender may affect these relationships. To conclude, most important effects of resistance training are also summarized, to better understand how higher levels of muscular fitness may result in a better cardiovascular prognosis and survival.