Importance of Muscular Strength

Every move you make requires muscle strength. In technical terms, muscle strength describes the force generated when a muscle or group of muscles contracts. In practical terms, muscle strength refers to the capacity to lift, push or pull against weight. Maintaining muscle strength over the long term is an essential component of your good health.

Daily Living

All of the many physical activities of your daily life require muscular strength. Getting out of bed, walking to the car, picking up a child, climbing the stairs, opening a jar and carrying a bag of groceries are accomplished only if you can generate the muscular force necessary to complete the task. Poor muscle strength caused by a sedentary lifestyle or medical condition increases your risk of developing limitations in your daily activities or a disability, especially as you age. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults participate in muscle-strengthening exercise involving all major muscles at least twice weekly.

Injury Prevention

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Muscle weakness makes you more prone to injuries. Weak abdominal and back muscles increase your risk for low back injuries, potentially leading to chronic pain. Weak thigh muscles make your knees less stable and more susceptible to injuries. Shoulder injuries may occur with weakness of the rotator cuff muscles. Muscle weakness also increases the risk for injuries caused by falls, especially among older adults.


Beginning about age 40, you gradually lose muscle mass and strength. Although lost muscle mass accounts for some age-related loss of strength, there is more to the story. Muscle function becomes less efficient as you age, which means older muscles generate less force than younger muscles. Muscle-strengthening exercise, however, can reverse some of the age-related changes that contribute to muscle weakness. In a 2007 article published in the journal "PLoS ONE," Simon Melov, Ph.D., and colleagues report that resistance training in older adults not only improves muscle strength but reverses some of the age-related inefficiency of the muscles. In other words, strength training causes the muscles of older adults to function more like those of younger adults.

Health Benefits

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Maintaining your muscle strength with regular weight or resistance training can reduce the likelihood of some diseases and abate the signs and symptoms of others. People with diabetes, for example, experience improved blood glucose control with regular resistance training. The pull of strong muscle contractions on your bones helps prevent bone loss, which may progress to osteoporosis. For people with rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, resistance training may reduce pain, fatigue and muscle weakness. Other potential benefits of maintaining muscle strength through regular exercise include better sleep, improved mood and self-confidence, and an increased metabolic rate, which aids in weight management.