A new study from the University of Jyväskylä has shown that resistance training can improve the health of people who are 65 years and older.
The benefits include improvements in blood values, muscle strength, and mental health.
The benefits exist even when people only do training once a week.
Resistance training exercises help improve muscular strength and endurance in the body. Some examples include pushups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squat thrusts, lunges, and step-ups.
Current guidelines recommend people perform resistance training at least two times per week for all ages.
In the current study, the team examined the effects of resistance training on maximum strength, muscle mass and capacity over 9 months of a training program.
Participants were 106 people who were 64–75 years old.
The team found older people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, or high levels of inflammation could get most benefit after the 9-month training program.
In addition, overall well-being and mental health in these people were also improved during the 9-month program.
Many people had better psychological well-being and higher motivation to do the exercises and continued to do it after the study had ended.
The results suggest that for maximum strength development, muscle growth and fat loss, training more times every week will be more helpful.
But for older people who want to improve the ability to perform activities of daily living, once per week of resistance training is sufficient.
The daily activities include carrying shopping bags, sitting down on a toilet, and walking up and down the stairs.
The team suggests that it is important to ensure older people could do resistance training safely.
It is important to supervise training sessions and make sure people do it correctly.
In addition, people should try to improve their training loads compared with previous training sessions.
One study author is Dr. Simon Walker of the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä.
The research findings are published in Experimental Gerontology.
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Further reading: Experimental Gerontology.