BALTIMORE – Although strength training is a key component of fitness, physicians and other health care providers aren’t routinely discussing it with patients, according to a study presented at American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
Teresa Merrick, Ph.D., surveyed 171 adults over age 40 about their recent visits to health care providers. Of the 154 who had seen their doctor in the past 12 months, fewer than 30 percent reported any discussion about strength training during their visits. In addition, only about 20 percent had ever heard advice from their primary care providers about strength training since turning 40.
“These findings are consistent with most surveys about physical activity in general,” Merrick said. “But with the trust people put in their health care providers, promoting wellness through healthy lifestyles that include strength training and other forms of physical activity needs to become a mainstay in every doctor’s visit.”
Indeed, 85 percent of those surveyed said they would follow their doctors’ advice to perform strength training. The survey results are reminiscent of a 2007 national poll by ACSM that found nearly two-thirds of patients (65 percent) would be more interested in exercising to stay healthy if advised by their doctor and given additional resources.
Both surveys reflect the principles of Exercise is MedicineTM, a nonprofit program founded by ACSM in 2007. Exercise is Medicine encourages all health care providers to talk to their patients about physical activity and, in turn, for patients to begin the physical activity conversation with their health care providers. Resources, including a talk-to-your-doctor guide for patients, can be found at www.exerciseismedicine.org.
ACSM recommends strength training at least two days per week for healthy adults, to include eight to 12 repetitions of eight to 10 strength exercises.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.