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Improved Muscle Strength And Size Found After Resistance Training In Adults Over 75

August 13, 2020


The negative effects of aging on the body’s muscular system are well established and contributes to increased disease risk, sedentary activities, and most importantly, a loss of independence. The effect of sarcopenia begins after age 30 in most adults and results in a 5-10% loss of fat free muscle mass for each decade of life in the aging adult. Thankfully, research has shown this loss of muscle mass can be significantly reduced and even reversed among resistance trained adults.

In the past, less information was available on the effects of weight training in older adults (> 65 years old) due in part to a resistance of researchers to study this population. Unfortunately, this contributed to an under treatment of older adults with inadequate exercise prescriptions (limited intensity) to combat the effects of aging. In short, the population who needed resistance training the most was not provided the proper antidote. More recent evidence has shown increased muscle strength, muscle mass, quality of life, and independence after resistance training. Importantly, these benefits have been achieved with little to no adverse events in the research. A recent research study highlights the benefits of strength training among the elderly (>75 years old).

Grgic and colleagues analyzed the available medical evidence on the effects of strength training on adults > 75 years old (Sports Med. 2020). Authors included 22 previously published trials in their meta analysis of the data. They reported significant improvements in muscle strength and muscle size in these older adults even among those without resistance training experience. They concluded “strength training was an effective way to improve muscle strength even in the oldest old”.

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