We need to do more strength training

Photo: Tara Moore

A new study of nearly 200,000 Australians reveals that nine out of 10 do not meet the guidelines of twice weekly strength training.

Strength training can include lifting weights (barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells), using resistance bands or body weight (push-ups, sit-ups, squats).

The key finding is that around 90 per cent of Australians do not meet the global and national muscle-strengthening activity recommendations.

Given the multiple health benefits associated with participation in sufficient muscle-strengthening activity these findings are of a public health concern.

A lack of exercise is a leading cause of preventable disease and death in the world.

The first global guidelines to include muscle-strengthening activities were released by WHO in 2010, although the Australian guidelines did not include strength training until 2014. They state that we should incorporate strength-building activities, involving major muscle groups, two or more times each week.

Research has shown that benefits of strength training include improved metabolism, bone density, blood lipid profile, physical and mental performance, reduced body fat, reduced blood pressure and reduced risk of diabetes.

Although here are often negative stereotypes associated with weight-lifting, we need to understand that we don’t need to create huge puffy muscles to get stronger. There’s no need to start Olympic lifting – just small changes in muscle activity will provide health benefits.

Full article in The Age