Little exercise goes a long way for older adults
Jul 19, 2008 - 3:26:41 PM

Sydney, July 19 - A little exercise or 'resistance training' to strengthen muscles goes a long way in keeping older men fit as a fiddle, according to a study by University of Queensland.

Tim Henwood of the University said his doctoral thesis is based on how people aged over 65 responded to such training.

'What we were looking at was how simple resistance training can improve muscle strength, power and functional performance,' said Henwood.

'This type of training not only has significant physical benefits but has also been associated with a decreased risk of later life disease.'

Henwood said participants do a basic twice-weekly, machine-based resistance training programme that targets the major muscles of the upper and lower body. All training sessions were thoroughly supervised to promote motivation and correct technique.

'We saw some very significant increases, up to a 50 percent in muscle strength and power,' he said.

'However, the really important increases were those we saw in the participant's functional ability.

'For this age group these increases are what allows them to keep successfully climbing stairs and getting out of chairs, thereby allowing them to retain their independence.'

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