Fit For Life Exercise Newsletter 4!
This week we will briefly look at strength exercises and their benefits for Older Adults! And we suggest incorporating Sit-to-Stand strength training for Older Adults.
What is it? Strength or resistance exercise is when your skeletal muscle contracts against an opposing force. An external resistance is used to overload your muscles e.g. resistance band, dumbbell or body weight exercise etc. Aims: To increase muscle strength and size, muscle speed and force (power) and to prevent/slow down age-related sarcopenia (muscle wasting).
What are the guidelines for resistance training for Older Adults?
Older Adults are recommended to do resistance training programs on 2 or more (alternate) days per week consisting of exercises for all the major muscle groups.
* Accessed 2/6/2020:
Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterised by progressive and generalised loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, which is age related. It is associated with increased likelihood of adverse outcomes including falls, fractures, physical disability and mortality. Sarcopenia is a complex and multifaceted process.
Strength training is one of the recommendations for preventing or slowing down sarcopenia.
* Accessed 2/6/2020: https://runrepeat.com/weightlifting-benefits-seniors
Daily exercise program
Week 4 program: This week we are looking at sit to stand as a strength training exercise!
Warm up for 5-10mins beforehand, including seated leg kicks, marching and ankle exercises (see previous emails). Complete the STS exercises in a slow and controlled manner and only complete the number of repetitions and sets that's appropriate to the fitness level of the individual. Do other exercises (e.g. upper limb) or finish with 5-10mins cool down and stretching.
Sit to stand
If you can’t stand up, you can’t walk! Sit to stand (STS) movement is a function people use as they change from a sitting position to a standing position and then into walking.
· STS is considered one of the most mechanically demanding physical activities in daily life because it requires displacement of body weight against gravity.
· Loss of muscle mass and muscle force (e.g. sarcopenia) will impact this transfer more than walking.
· STS is a functional movement that requires good muscle strength and balance.
· Physiotherapists use this movement to assess the muscle strength, control and stability of a person with any functional limitations.
· Many conditions associated with older age may cause problems in sitting to standing. For example: osteoarthritis, age related muscle loss, Parkinson's disease etc.
The inability to perform a STS can lead to impaired function and mobility in activities of daily living (ADL) and institutionalisation.
The following commands should be used:
· Place your hands on the arms of the chair/wheelchair
· Move your bottom forward to the front of the chair/wheelchair
· Bend your knees so that your feet are under your knees
· Lean your upper body forward, bringing your nose over your toes
Use your legs to stand up, and arms to push yourself up into standing.
How many repetitions to do?
Each person’s health and strength is at a different level, so it’s important to figure out what works best for them. To determine the ideal number of repetitions for your older adult, gauge their ability while doing the STS. E.g. if doing 2 reps of STS is quite challenging, then that’s their current limit.
Your older adult should be able to complete their number of repetitions without getting so tired that they’re weak or off balance. But they should be using effort and getting a bit tired since the goal is to work their muscles.
Over time, slowly build up to 5-10 or more repetitions and only increase the difficulty when the exercise isn’t challenging enough. Alternatively you could do a 30sec STS - so ask the Older Adult to do as many STS as they can, safely and with good technique, in 30seconds. Rest 60-90sec and repeat as able.
Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!