A new study has concluded that 9 out of 10 Australians fail to meet the National Guidelines of twice a week strength training.

The World Health Organisation’s stand on strength training is that we should incorporate strength training of major muscle groups at least twice a week.

Some people shy away from strength training, fearing that strength training will make them ‘big and bulky'. However this isn’t the case. Strength training is important for many reasons, and no, it doesn’t necessarily make you big and bulky. Unfortunately, there is a negative stereotype when it comes to lifting weights, especially when people see bodybuilders. You don’t even need to lift heavy weights to get the full benefits. If lifting weights doesn’t interest you, you can use resistance bands or body weight. It doesn't even have to be at the gym, it can be in the comfort at your own home, or even take it outside to the park for some fresh air. 

So why is it important to include strength training?

It’s important because just like any form of exercise, it has its benefits. These include improved metabolism, improved bone mineral density, blood lipid profiles, decreased blood pressure and body fat. Strength training should be used in conjunction with aerobic exercise for a well rounded exercise regime. Strength training is important in terms of maintaining and building muscle mass, which declines with age. This could lead people susceptible to falls when they are older.

When you do strength training, hypertrophy occurs. Muscle hypertrophy is the increase in the size of the muscle cells. These fibres grow when you do regular strength training. This doesn’t mean that the muscle is growing to be massive, but it means by training your muscles; you’re increasing the capacity of these fibres, allowing for further muscle activation and growth in the future.  

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