Muscle strength is really important and is used for:
- all daily movement
- to build and maintain strong bones
- to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure
- to help maintain a healthy weight
Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is 1 complete movement of an activity, like a bicep curl or a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions.
For each strength exercise, try to do:
- at least 1 set
- 8 to 12 repetitions in each set
To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you struggle to complete another repetition but build up slowly and listen to your body.
There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home (try using tins of beans as weights!) or in the gym.
Examples of muscle-strengthening activities for most people include:
- lifting weights
- working with resistance bands
- doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups, squats and sit-ups
- heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling
Try the strength workout videos (link opens in new window) from the NHS website in Fitness Studio.
Try Strength and Flex (link opens in new window), a 5-week exercise plan for beginners to improve your strength and flexibility.
You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity – whatever works for you.
Muscle-strengthening exercises are not an aerobic activity, so you'll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity.
Some vigorous activities count as both an aerobic activity and a muscle-strengthening activity, which is great if you’re pushed for time!
- circuit training