Resistance training for healthy aging: The whys and hows

Resistance training for healthy aging: The whys and hows

Exercise that builds muscle endurance, or resistance training, can help older adults to preserve their independence and quality of life. It can overcome the loss of muscle mass and strength, build resilience, ease the management of chronic conditions, and reduce physical vulnerability.
woman lifting weights

A new position statement extols the benefits of resistance training for older adults and explains the mechanisms behind them.

Despite there being lots of evidence to support these assertions, many older people do not practice resistance training on a regular basis.

In an effort to address this lack of participation, a new position statement in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Researchsummarizes the many ways in which resistance training promotes healthy aging.

The statement reviews published evidence on resistance training and uses it to recommend how to devise exercise programs to meet different needs.

“Too few of older Americans participate in resistance training, largely because of fear, confusion, and a lack of consensus to guide implementation,” says the co-senior author of the statement Mark D. Peterson, Ph.D., who is an associate professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. ”

The authors explain that their goal is to support a more holistic approach as well as to promote the benefits of resistance training for older adults.

They also hope that by providing evidence-based recommendations, the statement will help to reduce fears and other barriers that prevent older adults from taking up resistance training.

Summary statements with practical advice

The position statement explains how to adapt programs to meet the needs of older adults of varying levels of ability, including those who require assisted living and nursing care.

The document takes the form of 11 summary statements arranged in four parts, each with a discussion of supporting evidence.

For instance, Part 1 comprises three summary statements that outline the key variables of resistance training programs for older people.