More strength training needed for older people

Despite decades of research and health promotion, older Australians are skipping strength training in droves and putting themselves at increased risk of age related muscle decline

Older adults are not exercising at sufficient levels to promote good health, in particular muscle strengthening exercise, delegates have been told at a conference on the relationship between sport and health.

Speaking at the Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport in Freemantle, Western Australia, Dr Brendan Humphries from Central Queensland University said that despite the shown benefits of strength training, the practice of it seems to be being ignored.

Dr Humphries warned Australians do not exercise at sufficient levels to promote good health, saying data suggesting that the prevalence of Australians participating in regular muscle strengthening activity programs is very low and unlikely to provide the health benefits needed to stave off age-associated muscle decline and health risks. 

“Decades of research into muscle strengthening activities have shown a multiplicity of health benefits for both healthy and elevated risk populations,” said Dr Humphries. 

“Physical activity guidelines for older adults state that older adults should initiate and maintain engagement in muscle strengthening activities in conjunction with aerobic, flexibility and balance-based activities to continue to lead healthy lifestyles,” said Dr Humphries. 

Research showed that across a six year time period, almost 85% of the population sampled did not perform strength training activities. 

“National health authorities have widely promoted physical activity in the form of aerobic exercise to the public, although the promotion of muscle strengthening activities has received far less attention,” said Dr Humphries.

“The findings underscore the need to increase overall education on the benefits of regular strength training with an emphasis among targeted adult populations to increase participation in strength training programs,” said Dr Humphries.

The Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport is being held from October 19-22, 2011 at The Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle. The theme of the conference is “Optimising Health and Fitness – Participation, Prevention and Performance”. 

Tags: acsms, australian-conference-on-science-and-medicine-in-sport, central-queensland-university, dr-brendan-humphries, muscle-decline, sport, sports-medicine, strength-training,

1 thought on “More strength training needed for older people

  1. Over 20,000 older Victorians particiapte in Living Longer Living Stronger(TM)which is progressive resistance weight training, and they know the benefits. They investment over $7.5m into the economy in fees, yet very little funding is provided to support and promote the programs, which save money and create health outcomes. National funding should invest in these valuable health outcomes by supporting strength gaining programs.
    Sue Hendy. CEO. COTA Victoria

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