Strength Training In The Elderly: Effects On Risk Factors For Age - Related Diseases

By Ty Sevin, Sep 01, 2021

< Back to A Variety of Research on the Benefits of Strength Training in Older Adults

Hurley BF, Roth SM. Department of Kinesiology, College of Health & Human Performance, University of Maryland, College Park 20742, USA.

Background

Strength training is considered a promising intervention for reversing the loss of muscle function and the deterioration of muscle structure that is associated with advanced age. This reversal is thought to result in improvements in functional abilities and health status in the elderly by increasing muscle mass, strength and power and by increasing bone mineral density.

Objectives

In the past couple of decades, many studies have examined the effects of these strength training induced changes on risk factors for age-related diseases or disabilities. This review article outlines the research and draws conclusions about the effects of strength training on risk factors for age related diseases and disabilities.

Conclusions

Collectively, these studies indicate that strength training in the elderly: (i) is an effective intervention against sarcopenia because it produces substantial increases in the strength, mass, power and quality of skeletal muscle; (ii) can increase endurance performance; (iii) normalizes blood pressure in those with high normal values; (iv) reduces insulin resistance; (v) decreases both total and intra-abdominal fat; (vi) increases resting metabolic rate in older men; (vii) prevents the loss of bone mineral density with age; (viii) reduces risk factors for falls; and (ix) may reduce pain and improve function in those with osteoarthritis in the knee region. However, contrary to popular belief, strength training does not increase maximal oxygen uptake beyond normal variations, improve lipoprotein or lipid profiles, or improve flexibility in the elderly.

Summary

This is an excellent resource for anyone trying to outline a rationale for including progressive resistance strength training in programs for older adults. It forges the link between the effects of strength training (increased muscle mass/function and bone density) and the changes in risk factors for disease and disability.

Published in Sports Medicine, 2000 Oct;30(4):249-68

Link to Original Research

About the author

Ty Sevin

Director of Human Performance, Education and Research

Articles by Ty Sevin >

With over 25 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and Olympic levels, Ty Sevin is one of the most influential track and field coaches in the country. Ty has worked for the United States Olympic Committee, serving as the Director of the Track and Field Residency Program at the USOC Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. He has also served as an assistant coach for Team USA on three separate occasions, for both the men’s and women’s teams. Ty himself was a four-time U.S. Olympics Trials qualifier in javelin. Ty most recently spent four years as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Texas at Austin for both the men’s and women’s track and field teams. Prior to that, he led the men’s and women’s track and cross-country teams at the University of New Orleans and McNeese State.

Currently, Ty applies his vast industry experience to the role of Director of Human Performance, Research and Education for Keiser Corporation, where he consults with college and professional sports teams regarding the utilization of Keiser strength equipment. He is also responsible for creating educational curriculum relating to human performance and overseeing Keiser research projects