Numerous Benefits of Resistance Training in Older Adults
This article was reviewed by Mark D, DPT.
Resistance training for elderly patients is a powerful therapeutic tool with endless benefits. We conventionally think of resistance training as a tool to improve muscle strength, ease of transfers, and stair negotiation, but it doesn’t end there. The benefits are much more profound.
Sarcopenia is a process of muscle loss which naturally occurs with aging, and is significantly influenced by the amount of exercise. As we age, our activity levels decrease and the need for stimulation through exercise increases. Without appropriate stimulation humans quickly regress in overall functional capacity.
Studies show that patients with a history of resistance training experience less muscle loss than patients who never received it. Furthermore, resistance training in patients over the age of fifty for ten to twelve weeks has consistently shown to produce improvements in muscle strength by at least twenty five percent. It is recommended that older individuals participate in two to three sessions per week of resistance training. This may lead to improved muscle strength, improved functional capacity, and enhanced overall quality of life.
Now let’s dig in deeper:
Resistance training, especially in combination with aerobic exercise is shown to improve sleep quality and quantity. It is most helpful when performed earlier in the day or at least two hours before bed time.
Resistance training may help alleviate depression symptoms, increase energy levels, and improve a sense of well-being. This is to both direct physiological reaction to exercise and increased functional capacity and independence.
Resistance training may improve metabolism and enhance appetite in the elderly, who frequently exhibit diminished appetite.
Studies show that resistance training leads to decreased risk of falls. This is due to both improvements in balance and activity tolerance.
Studies show that resistance training improves stair negotiation independence, ambulation tolerance, safety and independence with transfers, ease and independence with household chores and activities of daily living.
Blood pressure and Diabetes:
Studies show that resistance training may lead to improvements in high blood pressure and more stable/lower blood glucose levels.
Having discussed so many tremendous benefits which extend to both mental and physical well-being, we believe that resistance training should be an integral part of exercise regiment of every person over fifty. It is important that it is administered by a qualified professional to promote appropriate results and prevent injuries. And as always, when beginning a new exercise regimen please always consult your physician.