Our tendency to overlook resistance training as an important form of exercise may be having an effect on our health.
Recent research shows a large majority of Australians, in particular, do not engage in muscle strengthening activity.
According to The Conversation muscle strengthening activity usually includes exercise using weight machines, exercise bands, hand-held weights, or own body weight.
When such exercises are performed regularly it leads to the improvement or maintenance of strength, size, power and endurance of skeletal muscles.
The current Australian guidelines, issued in 2014, were the first to recommend muscle strengthening activity as well as aerobic activity. They recommend an adult “do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week”.
The addition is due to emerging scientific evidence which shows resistance training can lead to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, physical disability, heart disease, mental health issues and even premature death.
The Conversation analysed two national surveys: the Australian Bureau of Statistics: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (2011-12); and the Australian Sports Commission: Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (2001-10) and found only between nine per cent and 19 per cent of Australian adults meet the resistance training guidelines. More than 80 per cent of adults report no muscle strengthening activity.