New research shows that resistance training improves the physical and mental health of people over 65 years old, with benefits occurring even when some people train just once a week.
Benefits included improvements in blood values, muscle strength, and mental well-being, according to researchers at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.
“We found that individuals who were close to having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, or high levels of inflammation improved the most after our nine-month training program,” said Dr. Simon Walker of the university’s Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences. “Training two or three times per week didn’t provide greater benefit in these individuals.”
Most experts advocate performing resistance training at least two times a week for all ages.
And the new study did find that for maximum strength development, muscle growth, and fat loss, training more times a week was advantageous, the researchers note.
“But for other measures that are important for older people, such as the ability to perform activities of daily living, once per week seemed sufficient,” Walker said. “Muscle strength that is needed for carrying shopping bags, walking up and down the stairs and sitting down on a toilet can be improved with strength training.”
Overall well-being, tested through psychological measures, also improved over the nine-month training period, according to the study’s findings.
Similarly, there were no real differences whether individuals trained only once a week or two to three times per week.
According to the researchers, it was very important that people improved their psychological well-being and motivation for exercise during the study period as it was those people who continued training regularly even after the study ended.
“We need to remember that these individuals trained hard, and safely, when they were with us,” Walker said. “We supervised every training session closely, making sure that they used correct technique and also ensured that they always tried to improve their training loads compared with previous training sessions.”
Source: University of Jyväskylä