Pump the body fit

A new study aims to assess the positive and negative impacts of seniors doing exercise programs that involve weights.

University of Sunshine Coast PhD student Vaughan Nicholson with Barbara Johnson

By Natasha Egan

A new study will measure the effectiveness of a popular gym-based exercise class incorporating weights on a group of older people.

Up to 40 seniors aged 55 to 75 will participate in a BodyPump class twice a week for six months. 

BodyPump is a 55-minute aerobic workout set to music that uses weights to focus on eight separate muscle groups. 

The University of the Sunshine Coast research project is the initiative of PhD student and physiotherapist Vaughan Nicholson.

“There are only studies on young healthy adults despite more and more older people taking part in these classes,” Mr Nicholson told Australian Ageing Agenda.

The study aims to determine how well the class improves muscle strength and bone density, body composition, and cardiovascular fitness. 

As a physiotherapist, Nicholson said he sees a lot of elderly aged people who have injured themselves working out, such as running or in a group exercise class. 

“I want to know how effective BodyPump is at improving muscle strength and so on but also if there’s a trade off, such as with people injuring their shoulders,” Mr Nicholson said.

Hopefully the evidence from the study will be used to inform the design of workouts for seniors in the future, he said.

Mr Nicholson is funding the project with a scholarship from the Australian Fitness Network, a membership based-group, which is seeking evidence-based research into the industry. 

The initial four weeks of the course will be slightly modified to act as a lead in period to allow everyone to get used to techniques. But after that Nicholson hopes the seniors will be doing a standard class. 

All participants will have their bone density, body composition, muscle strength, and balance tested at the beginning and end of the study.

The project is due to start next next month. While there are enough members in the BodyPump group, Mr Nicholson is still looking for control subjects. 

Control participants will receive the same tests. Before and after results will be compared within and across the two groups of participants.

You can email Vaughan Nicholson at vpn001@student.usc.edu.au to express your interest in being a control participant.

Tags: bodypump, exercise, physio, research, university-of-the-sunshine-coast, vaughan-nicholson, weight-training,

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