Exercise is essential if you want to remain healthy. This is not news to anyone, though some people would give anything for it to be false. It is also not news that few Americans get the amount of exercise they need. Recent studies, however, have found that not only do American adults not get enough exercise, they also do not get the right kind of exercise.

When most people decide to exercise, they usually do some form of cardiovascular exercise. They get on the treadmill and go for a run. They go for a walk or decide to play a sport. This is a very important form of exercise and should not be eliminated from a person’s exercise routine. As the name implies, cardiovascular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and lungs. Those, however, are not the only parts of your body that you need to work in order to keep your body in good condition. You also need to do muscle-strengthening exercises.

Muscles-strengthening exercises come in a variety of forms. The most famous, of course, is weight lifting. If you find moving a piece of iron boring, there are other ways to get the muscle strengthening exercise you need. You could work with elastic bands, add resistance to cardio machines such as exercise cycles or add a vertical component to your run. Running up stairs or up hills are both technically considered to be different forms of muscle-strengthening exercise. You could also do body weight exercises such as push-ups, crunches or squats.

Muscle strengthening exercises are essential, but only 35 percent of men and 26 percent of women include moderate or greater intensity muscle-strengthening exercises in two or more workouts a week. That is the bare minimum recommended in the latest Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, though most exercise professionals will recommend getting at least three sessions of muscle strengthening activity per week.

Strength exercises are not meant only for those who are training for a race or trying to bulk up. Strength training can improve your blood sugar control, bone density, balance and mobility as well as lower your stress and help you control your weight. In addition, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found a link between muscle strengthening exercises and a lower risk of diabetes, obesity and cancer. So, next time you exercise make sure you have some resistance so you get exactly what you need.

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