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Why Older Adults Should Try Resistance Training

2 months, 2 weeks ago

4788  0
Posted on May 14, 2020, 4 p.m.

While it is natural for the elderly to be reluctant to engage in certain activities for fear of sustaining an injury, exercise and resistance training should not be one of them, provided they are done correctly according to the guidance of a certified professional. 

According to a report published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research which is backed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association the researchers are recommending resistance training as a way to boost the well being and longevity of older adults.

The report details the health benefits that the elderly can obtain from strength and resistance training as well as how it can promote healthy aging. In the position statement lead author Dr. Maren Fragala says that when people are asked if they would like to live to be 100 that only a handful respond with yes. Dr. Mark Peterson who is another of the authors explained that this is because many people related old age with loss of independence, physical and mental decline, as well as poor quality of life. 

Aging is linked to biological changes that can result in decreases in skeletal muscle mass, strength and function. Even if one does not have any chronic illness these changes can happen, and there is no denying that aging gradually damages the body. That being said this does not mean that we simply have to endure it, there are steps one can take to combat these changes, and this is what living an anti-aging lifestyle has to offer for everyone who wants to learn. 

Such decreases and losses decrease physiologic resilience and increase vulnerability to catastrophic events, says Fragala, and this report provides evidence-based recommendations for resistance training programs, or exercises that focus on building muscle endurance, and the benefits that they can offer the elderly. The researchers are hoping that this report will help to alleviate the fears that the elderly may be having due to concerns surrounding strenuous exercise and resistance training. 

The report describes 11 practical applications that are categorized into 4 main components: Program design variables, Physiological adaptations, functional benefits, and considerations for frailty, sarcopenia and other chronic conditions. These applications include suggestions on training types as well as amounts of repetitions and intensities, patients groups that will require modifications, and training models as well as how the programs can be revised for older adults with disabilities to those in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. 

Recent research indicates that resistance training can be a powerful care model that can help the elderly to prevent muscle mass and strength loss. According to Peterson the report illustrates the potential benefits of resistance training such as improving physical function and mobility; this type of training can also help to provide older adults a sense of independence. 

Resistance training can also be effective in the management of chronic disease, as well as for the improvement of psychological well being, quality of life, and longevity. The report offers guidance on how seniors can personalize resistance training programs so that they can work out safely. The research team analyzed the work of hundreds of scientists to produce this position statement, and they found that “in most cases, the vast benefits of resistance training largely outweigh the risks,” especially if done according to safety guidelines. 

Many older Americans avoid exercise and resistance training due to confusion, fear, misunderstanding, and a lack of consensus for proper implementation, but with the support of this National Strength and Condition the team is hoping this report will have a positive impact on older adults to empower healthier aging. 

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