According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) only 29% of American meet the federal physical activity guidelines recommended for adults. The guideline is at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week and some sort of strengthening activities at least twice a week.
We all know by now the importance of exercise. Some benefits include a boost in energy, weight control and it helps prevent health conditions and disease. Exercise also boosts your mood and promotes better sleep.
One thing that we hardly ever discuss is the importance of muscles to our health. In fact, most of us have major misconceptions when it comes to building muscles. Several misconceptions are: you must be a body builder, if you lift you will build big bulging muscles, you must lift heavy weights and you must eat excessive amounts of protein.
What follows are ways that muscles play an important role in our health:
As we age, we naturally lose muscles. This can impact how we walk, our backs, how we stand and our ability to lift things.
Prevents osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones. This causes our bones to be brittle and increases the risk of fracture.
Lowers our resting heart rate. Having a low heart rate implies better health. A resting heart rate of healthy adults is typically 50-80 beats per minutes.
Strength training aids in fighting heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Regulates body fat levels. High body fat can cause high blood pressure.
So, you see, there is evidence that adding some weight training/strengthening exercises will be of a benefit. Building and maintaining muscles doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, you can build muscles by lifting weights. You can also do push-ups, pull ups, squats, use resistance bands, do yoga, run, swim or do crunches.
In conclusion, exercise and strength training are very important to our health. 150 minutes a week is not a lot of time to commit to your health. Cardio and strength are equally important. I challenge you to do at least the minimum. I would love to read that the statistic referenced above (29%) has been boosted to 100%!
Resources: Gainful.com; time.com; Webmd.com; mayoclinic.org