Public health guidelines primarily focus on the promotion of physical activity and steady-state aerobic exercise, which enhances cardiorespiratory fitness and has some impact on body composition. However, research demonstrates that resistance exercise training has profound effects on the musculoskeletal system, contributes to the maintenance of functional abilities, and prevents osteoporosis, sarcopenia, lower-back pain, and other disabilities. More recent seminal research demonstrates that resistance training may positively affect risk factors such as insulin resistance, resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, body fat, and gastrointestinal transit time, which are associated with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Research also indicates that virtually all the benefits of resistance training are likely to be obtained in two 15- to 20-min training sessions a week. Sensible resistance training involves precise controlled movements for each major muscle group and does not require the use of very heavy resistance. Along with brief prescriptive steady-state aerobic exercise, resistance training should be a central component of public health promotion programs.
Copyright 2001 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.