Posted on Mar 05, 2012, 6 a.m.
Not only does lifting weights improve muscle power and promotes cardiovascular health, but doing so enhances quality of life as well.
Previously, a number of studies have reported that strength training can prevent or reduce muscle loss in older men and women. Researchers from the University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro (Portugal) and the Federal University of Rio Grande del Sur (Brazil) report that 12 weeks of strength training is highly effective for improving functional capacity, as well as for enhancing quality of life. The researchers observed that such a four-month long regimen helps older men and women to regain muscle strength and mass, potentially restoring the functional capacity to perform as well as people who are 20 years their junior. The team’s study of 56 older women demonstrated that high-speed power training significantly increased dynamic and isometric strength performance, as well as muscle power and function. Their separate study of 26 older men showed that endurance training increased muscle workload capacity and maximum aerobic workload . Across both studies, the team submits that regular physical exercise from the age of 50 onwards "is a cornerstone in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases; [it] plays a crucial role in preventing and treating the decline in functional capacity. In this context, strength training may be effective in delaying disability, thereby improving quality of life as we age.
Ana Pereira, Mikel Izquierdo, Antonio J. Silva, Aldo M. Costa, et al. “Effects of high-speed power training on functional capacity and muscle performance in older women.” Experimental Gerontology, Volume 47, Issue 3, March 2012, Pages 250-255. Eduardo Lusa Cadore, Mikel Izquierdo, Cristine Lima Alberton, Ronei Silveira Pinto, et al. “Strength prior to endurance intra-session exercise sequence optimizes neuromuscular and cardiovascular gains in elderly men.” Experimental Gerontology, Volume 47, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 164-169.