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Thursday 12 September 2019

Experts have recognised the importance of building strength and balance for adults as well as cardiovascular exercise, and Solent University’s Dr James Steele was part of a working group reviewing the evidence for the guidance issued by the UK Chief Medical Officers.

Under the new guidelines, adults are advised to undertake strength-based exercise at least 2 days a week to help delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density that starts from around age 50 – it is believed that this is a major reason why older people lose their ability to carry out daily tasks.

Speaking in his blog on ukactive, associate professor in sport and exercise science, Dr Steele says: “The UK’s Chief Medical Officers' guidelines play an important role in informing the public and stakeholders on the most up-to-date evidence-based recommendations for physical activity and exercise.

“In previous iterations of the CMO’s guidelines, the focus has 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.

“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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Physical activity can help to protect against a range of chronic conditions and meeting the guidelines can reduce the risk of:

  • type 2 diabetes by 40%
  • coronary heart disease by 35%
  • depression by 30%

The new guidelines are an update to those released in 2011, but the overall message remains the same: any activity is better than none, and more is better still.

Read more about what Dr James Steele’s has to say on the blog he wrote for ukactive.