We all know that “smoking is bad for you” and “lack of sleep is unhealthy,” but what you may not know is that failure to participate in strength training is also a health hazard.
A recent article from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published in the Los Angeles Times stated that only 25 percent of Americans take part in strength training programs. That same survey found that only 19.4 percent of Americans participated in ACSM’s recommended amount of cardiovascular and strength training activities.
Strength training is important for improving bone density and preventing osteoporosis; it speeds up connective tissue growth, and increases muscle mass therefore improving balance, reducing injuries, and improving quality of life.
ACSM currently recommends the following for strength training:
• Each major muscle group should be trained 2-3 days per week, including your shoulders, forearms, trapezius (traps), lower & middle back, chest, biceps, triceps, abdominals, gluteus maximus (glutes or buttocks), quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
• Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting an exercise program.
• 2-4 sets of each exercise will help improve strength and power
• 8-12 repetitions per exercise will help improve strength and power; and 15-20 repetitions will improve muscular endurance.
• Adults should wait at least 2 days between resistance training sessions to ensure proper recovery of muscle tissue, and to reduce the risk of injury.
If you are not currently strength training you may need to check with your doctor to see what type of program is right for you. An exercise specialist at your gym or fitness center can help you set up a program that meets your fitness goals and needs.
This may seem overwhelming for those new to strength training, so check back next week and we will share how to create a beginning strength training program! It’s easier than it seems!
Read the Los Angeles Times article on strength training.
For more information on the benefits of strength training read ACSM’s article, “Resistance Training and Injury Prevention.”