Strength training is not just for bodybuilders and athletes. A wide variety of people participate in this activity.1,2 Unfortunately, only a minority of the U.S. population strength train.1 The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Heart Association (AHA) consider this activity to be one of the core recommendations for the health of the adult population.3 ALL healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 should participate in order to promote and maintain their health, as well as reduce the risk of chronic disease or premature death.3,4
What Are Some of the Potential Health Benefits? 2,4
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Prevent age-related muscle loss
- Reduce incidence of disabling low back pain
- Decrease high-normal blood pressure to normal levels
- Increases metabolic rate
- Decrease central obesity (abdominal fat around the organs)
- Reduce anxiety symptoms in healthy adults
- Improve cognition among older adults
- Improve self-esteem
How to Gain These Benefits
For adults to gain health benefits, the ACSM recommends:5
- Training each major muscle group 2-3 days a week with a variety of exercises
- Performing two to four sets of each exercise
- Doing 8-12 repetitions for each exercise to improve strength and power. People who are middle aged or older can improve strength and power using 10-15 repetitions.
- Older adults and those who were previously sedentary should start with low intensity
- Waiting at least 48 hours between resistance-training sessions.
These recommendations to access the health benefits of strength training are not for bodybuilding or athletic purposes. I believe it is important to seek guidance in individualizing a strength program and ensuring exercises are performed appropriately. A physical therapist can help facilitate the process.
1. Chevan J. Demographic determinants of participation in strength training activities among U.S. adults. J Strength Cond Res 2008;22:553–558.
2. O’Connor P, Herring M, Caravalho A. Mental health benefits of strength training
in adults. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2010;4: 377-397.
3. Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD, Bauman A 2007 Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circulation 116:1081–1093
4. Winnett RA, Carpinelli RN. Potential health-related benefits of resistance training. Prev Med. 2001;33:503–513.
5. ACSM Guidelines http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Sehttp://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/acsm-issues-new-recommendations-on-quantity-and-quality-of-exercise Accessed 3/23/2013