Walking 10,000 steps a day may no longer be enough for fitness, a new scientific review in the United Kingdom has revealed.
Public Health England warned that while they are important for health and well-being, muscle and bone strengthening and balance exercises remain largely neglected. According to the agency, the focus remains on walking more and doing aerobic activities every day.
“[T]he need for us all to do two sessions of strength and balance exercise a week has been the Cinderella of public health advice,” said Louise Ansari of the Center for Aging Better, which co-wrote the PHE review.
Beneficial exercises include dancing, playing tennis and ball games, as well as resistance training, which uses weights or bands or one’s own body weight to either push or pull against for a workout. Also good for the muscles, bones, and balance are yoga, tai chi, and cycling.
Experts concluded that unfortunately, a mere one in three males and one in four females do enough of the right exercises to stay healthy and strong.
Back in 2011, four chief medical officers in the UK issued guidelines that highlight three pieces of exercise and activity advice. Only some have been followed, including the ever-popular walking, while muscle and bone strengthening workouts have been mostly ignored.
The Case For Staying Muscle Strong And Active
PHE noted that people should know better than neglect these exercises. In older individuals, for instance, poor muscle strength has upped the risk of falls by 76 percent. Elders who already suffered a fall have three times the risk to fall again.
Muscle and bone strengthening and balance exercises can help prevent falls, as well as mood, sleep, energy, and the risk of early death. They can also assist those in difficult phases of life, from pregnancy to retirement, and recovery from hospitalization.
The experts recommended young people to work hard building up muscle and bone mass, which is likely to peak by age 30. Older adults, on the other hand, need exercise to slow natural age-related decline.
The elderly can and should still remain active. It’s ideal, however, to seek advice from the doctor before starting any high-impact routine such as tennis, or if already sick with conditions such as osteoporosis.
Adults are suggested to have a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week, along with strength training on at least two days a week to work the major muscles of the body. The two, according to Dr. Zoe Williams of PHE, work together for a lineup of health benefits for a lifetime.
“[I]t’s never too late to start,” Dr. Williams advised.
The situation isn’t too rosy in the United States either, as many Americans are not getting the ideal amount of exercise. New data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that only one-fourth of U.S. adults are meeting guidelines in aerobic and strength training exercises.