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Weight Training, the fountain of youth for our older clients!

posted Jul 7, 2014, 5:13 PM by Rebecca Smith   [ updated Jul 7, 2014, 5:13 PM ]
With the implementation of our new Difference Veteran’s Active programme, the need for strength training, especially for the middle to older age groups , has shown its significance.

It has long been said that we lose 1% of our strength per year after 30 years old, accelerating to nearly 2% per year after 55 years old. This has been in part due to changes in activity, and in part the age related physiological changes of the reduction of fast twitch fibres and motor units. A loss of 10% of strength per decade also correlates very closely with a predicated loss of fitness per decade. Eventually, it would seem , that as we lose our strength it will get too hard to do our recommended 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day.

Many veterans are retired, many regularly walk, but all complain of a noticeable loss of strength in recent years. Other common complaints include weight gain ( without eating any more ), knee and foot aches on their walks, and back aches working in the garden, and “old injuries” coming back to annoy them. It is not that difficult to link all of these complaints to the reduction in muscle mass.

Weight training is essential in a weight loss programme to prevent muscle tissue loss, and prevent future weight gain. Weight training also improves bone density, helps prevent falls in the elderly, improves BGL profiles and facilitates fitness training. Muscle tissue also holds the “old injuries” together, that is, strength training has been shown to be effective for OA. Overall, strength training assists in our tolerance to activities of daily living and independence as we age, and there is no age limit to commencing a programme ( studies have been done on 95 year olds ).

Finally, weight training is a specific stimulus to the fast twitch fibres ( for strength, balance and co-ordination ). It is not walking with weights, circuit training, or pump class. Weight training can require weeks to months of gently graded progression to get to the effective stimulus of ideally at least one set of 8 to 12RM on a particular exercise. In older age groups, commonly with health or musculoskeletal issues, we strongly recommend these programmes are prescribed and supervised by Physiotherapists or exercise physiologists. 

If you are interested in our DVA program or if you are not a DVA client but are interested in weight training to help with falls prevention, mobility, flexibility and strength then contact us for an appointment.   

Tony Cosgrove
Principle Physiotherapist
Difference Physiotherapy Narellan and Camden