Muscle strengthening, bone strengthening and balance activities have great health benefits for all adults

12 July 2018

New evidence review concludes that adults should do strengthening and balancing exercises twice a week alongside aerobic exercise.

In older adults, poor muscle strength increases the risk of a fall by 76%. Strengthening and balance activities help to prevent this and also help improve mood, sleeping patterns, increase energy levels and reduce the risk of an early death.

The evidence review commissioned by Public Health England and the Centre for Ageing Better found that activities of most benefit for muscle and bone strengthening include:

  • ball games
  • racket sports
  • dance
  • Nordic walking
  • resistance training (usually training with weights, but including body weight exercises which can be performed anywhere)

Jess Kuehne, Centre for Ageing Better said:

"Equal weighting is needed for activities that boost muscle and bone strength and improve balance rather than simply focusing on aerobic exercise. There is significant potential to make health savings if we promote muscle strengthening and balance activities to keep people healthy and independent for longer, particularly as they age.""

Falls are responsible for 95% of all hip fractures, costing the NHS over £1 billion a year. For employers and the economy, musculoskeletal health conditions are the second most common cause of sickness absence in the UK, accounting for 30.8 million days lost in work.

By building on aerobic activities such as brisk walking, strengthening and balance activities such as dancing or tennis can help adults to prevent these health problems and enjoy ageing well.