More than 85% of women in Europe don’t do any muscle-strengthening exercise, according to the first multi-country study of its kind.
The World Health Organization recommends exercises like lifting weights, push-ups, sit-ups and squats should be carried out at least two days a week to maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. But data from more than 280,000 adults from 28 European countries showed that only 17.3 per cent follow the guidelines – 19.8 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women.
The study, led by the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, is the most comprehensive look yet at how much muscle-strengthening exercise adults across Europe are getting.
“While the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise are clear, the reality is a large majority of European adults either don’t do it or don’t do enough of it,” said lead investigator Dr Jason Bennie, a physical activity epidemiologist at the University of Southern Queensland. “Particularly concerning was our data showed that in some southern European countries, more than 95 per cent of adults reported doing no muscle‐strengthening exercise.” The research team used data from the second wave of the European Health Interview Survey, which was conducted in 2013 and 2014. Participants were asked how many days in a week they engage in physical activities specifically designed to strengthen muscles, such as doing resistance training or strength exercise.