postheadericon Ladies (and men too), pick up some weights!

It’s not a surprise for most of us to learn that people are not getting enough exercise these days. But in terms of strength training, it might even be a bleaker picture than for cardio. Women and men, but particularly women, are not meeting the strength and cardio recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control. This, according to an article in BU Today. Only 17.5% of woman and 23% of men are meeting the exercise benchmarks set by the CDC. This is a troubling statistic, especially since we know how helpful exercise is in so many aspects of our health and quality of life. And strength training, although often forgotten, is important not only for general health, but is important as we age, too. The bar for training is not being set too high in my opinion. The recommendation for strength training is that “..adults perform muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.” The recommendation does not mention weight lifting specifically, only muscle strengthening exercise. This could be strength-based calisthenics or workouts with a resistance band. I think that weights (and not the pink ones!) are the best for getting good results, but my recent experience with Insanity (see this post) has taught me that, even in the absence of heavy dumbbells or barbells, strength can be increased.
While both men and women need to increase their strength training, I think the reasons they don’t are different. Men may believe that they don’t need to after a certain point, or they may be short on time. But women, many women unfortunately, are still of the belief that if they workout with weights, especially heavy weights, that they will somehow bulk up or get big. Not true! Will women be more sculpted, chiseled, and strong? Absolutely! Will they feel better, sit up straighter, and have more functional strength? You bet! So we have to find a way to instill in women, especially younger girls, that they need to build and maintain muscle strength throughout their lives. Involvement in sports is always good, and outdoor activities like hiking can inspire a lifetime of wanting to stay fit and healthy. I think we just need to get out of this collective funk we have going on in this country in regards to exercise. Exercise needs to be viewed as being as important as quitting smoking or eliminating saturated fat. We need to move!

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