It’s not just getting moving that is important for better health. Health experts say people should have a muscle-strengthening component to their exercise, too. Yet 58 percent of American adults don’t do any muscle-strengthening exercise, according to research. Among the activities that qualify are lifting weights and exercising with elastic bands, both of which create resistance that you must work against, as well as push-ups, situps, climbing stairs, cycling, hiking up hills. Still, the researchers — who analyzed data on nearly 400,000 people ages 18 to 80, representing all U.S. states and territories — say that only 35 percent of men and 26 percent of women, ages 18 to 80, include moderate or greater intensity muscle-strengthening exercise in two or more workouts a week. That’s the minimum amount recommended in the latest Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
, released last month. Besides making you stronger and more fit, muscle-strengthening exercise has been linked to such health benefits as improved cardiovascular health, better blood sugar control, improvements in bone density, better balance and mobility, and improved self-esteem. The new analysis, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also saw a link between muscle-strengthening exercise and lower odds of having diabetes, obesity and non-skin cancer.