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June Newsletter: Resistance exercise and sarcopenia 2!

In the previous newsletter we looked at what resistance training is and the benefits of it for Older Adults and to delay or prevent sarcopenia. In this newsletter we look at the guidelines for resistance training and introduce power training. We also give an example of a great exercise for Older Adults, even those who sit a lot during the day!


Is resistance exercise safe and beneficial for Older Adults?

The research would indicate that it is! In elderly adults, minimally supervised home-based resistance training is effective in enhancing muscle strength (Kis et al, 2019). Strength training with dumbbells and elastic bands (twice weekly over 6-weeks) leads to neuromuscular adaptations to enhance older adults' strength (Herda & Nabavizadeh, 2020). Older adults performing supervised resistance training to skeletal muscle failure was feasible and safe, with appropriate caution (Marshall-McKenna et al, 2021​).


What are the guidelines for resistance exercise for Older Adults?

Guidelines vary and research is ongoing, and knowledge is always progressing! A good place to start is with internationally recognised guidelines like those from the ACSM (American college of Sports Medicine) and NSCA (National Strength & Conditioning Association).


The guidelines above are for general population so at Fit For Life we delve deeper into the research to bring the most up-to-date evidence-based practice to our exercise interventions for older adults. For example, a recent company training day reviewed:


One more thing to consider . . . Power!

Power can be defined as: Muscular work per unit of time and is the product of force (strength) and velocity (speed) of movement. Power declines more precipitously after the fifth decade of life. In direct comparisons of muscle power and strength, muscle power was found to consistently describe more of the variance in mobility function in mobility-limited elders (Bean et al, 2004). Power training in Older Adults has been found to improve mobility and increase walking speed (Hvid et al, 2016; Beijersbergen et al, 2017; Uematsu et al, 2018; Browne & Franz, 2019; Ogawa et al, 2021). Get in touch with an exercise specialist or physiotherapist if you wish to start doing some power training to ensure you have a suitable, safe and effective program to complete!


Sit to stand (STS) exercise

STS is a great strength exercise, especially for the very deconditioned! STS's work the leg and abdominal muscles and transfer to vital daily activities (e.g. getting up out of bed). STS’s are an appropriate intervention at interrupting/reducing sitting time in nursing home residents. For physically frail elders, repeated STS exercise is effective in increasing knee extensor strength and reducing the muscular effort required for lowering and raising the body (Fujita et al, 2018).


Perform 4 days a week for up to 10 weeks to see a difference in functional status (Lee, Sénéchal, Read and Bouchard, 2020). Perform repetitions to individuals' tolerance and increase gradually (e.g. 3sets x5reps). If necessary, they may use their hands on the chair hand rests to help themselves stand and sit.


Remember, aerobic and multi component or balance training is vital for Older Adults for falls prevention too!


Happy to help!

We have >20 years’ experience delivering strength training and exercise for Older Adults! Check out our website for information on 1-1 and group fitness interventions www.fitforlife.ie/. And, don’t hesitate to contact one of our exercise and rehabilitation specialists or physiotherapists at info@fitforlife.ie or 01-2137915 if you have any questions!


Patricia O'Donnell GSR CAT BSc MSc

Fit For Life Ltd. 2022

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