Fitness sector must highlight importance of strength training

Fitness sector must highlight importance of strength training
The UK fitness industry should make a concerted effort to highlight the importance of strength training, following the publication of the Chief Medical Officer's (CMO) guidelines for physical activity.

That is the message from Dr James Steele, principal investigator at the UK active Research Institute, who says that the new CMO guidelines rightly described muscle strengthening as "fundamental to the ability to perform daily tasks".

Published on 7 September, the guidelines recommend all UK adults to undertake muscle strength exercises "at least twice a week".

In an open letter to the fitness industry, Dr Steele said muscle strengthening had been the "forgotten guideline" for too long.

"In previous iterations of the CMO’s guidelines, the focus had been upon the importance of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity – with the importance of muscle strength, and activities to promote it, playing second fiddle," Dr Steele said.

"The latest guidelines are now more reflective of the known value of activities such as resistance training for all adults – and now the recommendations position strength training activities equally alongside the aerobic activity recommendations.

"It is encouraging to think that these guidelines and simple recommendations may be the first step towards not only a more active nation, but also a stronger one.

"Muscle strengthening has been the forgotten guideline, but now is the time for our sector to play its role in helping raise awareness of its importance, alongside moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity, providing information and facilities to help people achieve these exercises in a way that best suits their lifestyle, and helping get the nation stronger."

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