Strength Training for Older Adults
by David E. Verrill, M.S., R.C.E.P., FAACVPR Geriatric Times July/August 2001 Vol. II Issue 4
Strength training has become a very popular form of exercise for adults of all ages. This mode of exercise is especially important for older adults, as maintaining the strength to participate in vocational and recreational activities is imperative for this population. Studies have shown that this form of training is highly effective in improving strength, balance, functional capacity and bone density in geriatric populations (Fiatarone et al., 1990). Greater lean body mass and bone mineral content may reduce the incidence of osteoporosis, as well as complications associated with accidental falls in older adults (Brown et al., 1990; Hurley, 1995). Resistance training also enables elderly individuals to perform activities of daily living with greater ease and counteracts the muscle weakness and frailty that is often seen in the very old. An appropriate level of muscular fitness is integral in ensuring that older individuals spend their latter years in a dignified, self- sufficient manner. Moreover, resistive training improves carbohydrate metabolism through the development of lean body mass, which has a positive overall effect on basal metabolism. The effect of this form of exercise on blood lipid values in middle-aged to older participants is still inconclusive.
Exercise shrinks abdominal fat cells
Exercise may be especially helpful in reducing the size of fat cells around the waistline - more so than diet alone, a study suggests. That's important, because fat specifically in the abdomen has been linked to the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Among a group of obese women who were placed on a regimen of calorie cutting alone or diet plus exercise, those who exercised showed a reduction in the size of fat cells around the abdomen. Women who only dieted showed no such change.
Moderate Exercise Boosts Immunity
From Elizabeth Quinn, M.S., is an exercise physiologist and health information content producer and editor.
The average adult has two to three upper respiratory infections each year. We are exposed to bacteria all day long, but some people seem more susceptible to catching the bug. The following factors have all been associated with impaired immune function and increased risk of catching colds.
- old age
- cigarette smoking
- poor nutrition
- fatigue and lack of sleep