Stay Strong for Yourself

Strength exercises can help elderly stay independent longer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Exercising can make people feel and look good. It enables people to maintain their health, mobility and strength as they age.

The US senior population is increasing in size as advances in medicine enable longer life spans. More people are staying in the workforce longer, so maintaining independence throughout all stages of life is important. Researchers found that exercising can help elderly people stay strong and independent longer.

"Seniors should include strength training within their exercise routine."

Frank Mayer and colleagues from the University of Potsdam found that strength/resistance training can reverse the loss of muscle mass as people age. The purpose of their study was to determine the effects strength training could have on people over the age of 60 and exactly how much exercise is needed to be effective.

Mayer and colleagues found that strength training provided stronger muscles, reduced muscle atrophy (death of muscle cells) and better support from bones and tendons.

They also found that greater than 60 percent intensity exercises provided better results, such as increased muscle mass. Participants who performed three to four training sessions per week also benefitted the most.

Keeping the body strong and mobile will help keep the elderly population independent longer.

Fitness expert Jim Crowell says, “It is very important that the elderly not only strengthen their bodies, they must also increase or, at a minimum, maintain their body's range of motion."

"Some great exercises to help strengthen and maintain range of motion are exercises involving strength bands,” he said, “Strength band exercises can open up your shoulders, chest, back, name it and they can help give you stability and flexibility while helping you strengthen your muscles.”

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 13, 2011
Last Updated:
June 14, 2011