The number of persons aged >65 years is predicted to rise from 550 to 937 million worldwide between 2000 and 2030, representing an increase from 6.9% to 12% of the world population (1). Specifically, within Australia, older adults are projected to comprise approximately 20% of the population by 2021 and more than 25% by 2051(2).
‘Sarcopenia’ is described as the slow and inevitable age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and consequent function. Fortunately, a continually growing body of research highlights the robust adaptability of the aging neuromuscular system in response to resistance training.
In evidence, my research findings (3) demonstrated that 22-weeks of resistance training was successful at improving systolic blood pressure (-3.2%), total body fat % (-11.9%), fat mass (-11.1%), lean body mass (6.7%), HDL cholesterol (5.9%), peak isometric force (15.1%), chest press (30.3%) and leg press (47.1%) one-repetition maximum (1RM), repeated chair rise (9.9%) and stair climbing (20.7%) performance, and balance confidence (2.3%). This range of positive adaptation is considerable and collectively lowers the risk of chronic disease, while preserving independence and increasing quality of life (QOL). Considering maximal strength improvements alone, based on annual strength reductions between 2.5-5% with advancing age (4, 5), the average 38.7% improvement across chest press and leg press 1RM measures indicates counteracting ~7-15 years of age-related strength loss following only 22-weeks of resistance training.
Yet, due to such drastically low participation rates reported among the elderly (6), educating this population on the vast benefits of resistance training and engaging them in regular training is significant. Additionally, accessibility and affordability of services is critical. Absolute Balance’s programme ‘Age Strong’ is striving to be part of the solution, providing affordable, effective and sustainable resistance training for over 65s in our brand new fully equipped clinic (located at 1/1 Preston Street, Como). For more information or to book a free 15 min initial assessment, please call Jenny on 0499909353.
Dr Jenny Conlon (BSc, MSc, PhD Sports Science)
P 9244 5580 – M 0499 909 353- F 92445582
- Tedla FM and Friedman EA. The trend toward geriatric nephrology. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice 35: 515-530, 2008.
2.Taaffe DR. Sarcopenia: exercise as a treatment strategy. Australian Family Physician 35: 130-134, 2006.
- Conlon JA, Newton RU, Tufano JJ, Banyard, HG, Hopper AJ, Ridge AJ, & Haff GG. Periodization Strategies in Older Adults: Impact on Physical Function and Health. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 48(12): 2426-36, 2016.
- Aniansson A, Hedberg M, Henning GB, and Grimby G. Muscle morphology, enzymatic activity, and muscle strength in elderly men: A follow‐up study. Muscle & Nerve 9: 585-591, 1986.
- Frontera WR, Hughes VA, Fielding RA, Fiatarone MA, Evans WJ, and Roubenoff R. Aging of skeletal muscle: a 12-yr longitudinal study. Journal of Applied Physiology 88: 1321-1326, 2000.
- Loustalot F, Carlson SA, Kruger J, Buchner DM, and Fulton JE. Muscle- strengthening activities and participation among adults in the United States. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 84: 30-38, 2013.