Once per week resistance training exercise improves health and well being in elderly.
Resistance training exercise improves the health and well being of over 65-year-olds, and the benefits occur even when some people train as little as once per week, according to a new study. The benefits show improvements in blood values, muscle strength, and mental well-being. The study has appeared in Frontiers in Physiology.
Resistance training is any exercise that increases muscle strength by making muscles work against a weight or force. The study found that a higher number of RT sessions per week could be of benefit in the management of body composition and lipid profile. Interestingly, and importantly, the study observed that those individuals with a higher baseline systolic blood pressure, triglyceride and hs-CRP concentrations derived the greatest benefit from the RT intervention, regardless of how many times-a-week they trained.
Ageing is associated with declines in levels of physical activity and once adults reach the age of 65, only 33% (from a peak of 55%) of the population fulfil the recommended amount of aerobic exercise. More worryingly, only 17% (from a peak of 30%) perform resistance training two or more times per week.
Johanna K. Ihalainen at Neuromuscular Research Center, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland conducted a study to assess the effects of different frequencies of resistance training (RT) on markers of metabolic syndrome and low-grade inflammation in healthy older men and women.
“We found that individuals who were close to having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, or high levels of inflammation improved the most after our 9-month training program. Training two or three times per week didn’t provide greater benefit in these individuals,” says Dr Simon Walker of the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä.
International and National agencies advocate performing resistance training at least two times per week for all ages. Also in this study for things such as maximum strength development, muscle growth and fat loss, training more times per week was advantageous.
“But for other measures that are important for older people, such as the ability to perform activities of daily living, once per week seemed sufficient. Muscle strength that is needed for carrying shopping bags, walking up and down the stairs and sitting down on a toilet can be improved with strength training,” Walker says.
Training also benefits overall well-being
Overall well-being, tested through psychological measures, also improved over the 9-month training period. Similarly, there were no real differences whether individuals trained only once per week or two-three times per week. The researchers found that it was very important that people improved their psychological well-being and motivation for exercise during the study period as it was those people who continued training regularly even after the study had ended. The researchers are keen to point out that their studies show the importance of resistance training for older persons; even as little as once per week can go a long way.
“We need to remember that these individuals trained hard, and safely when they were with us. We supervised every training session closely, making sure that they used the correct technique and also ensured that they always tried to improve their training loads compared with previous training sessions.” Walker added.
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