Thursday, January 21, 2010
Strength Training Helps Seniors in Daily Living Activities
A study by Hanson et al., published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (vol 23, no 9, 2009) tested the effectiveness of strength training in improving the ability of elderly people to perform activities of daily living. 35 men and 65 women, all initially sedentary, were trained 3 times per week for 22 weeks on Keiser pneumatically-resisted machines. The first 10 weeks involved only knee extension training, but the routine for the final 12 weeks included knee-extension, chest press, seated row, seated leg curl, abdominal crunch, and alternating leg press. The subjects improved significantly in knee-extension strength and power, leg-press strength, and fat free mass. They also became significantly faster in functional activity tests such as a 20-foot walk, repetitive (5x) standing up from and sitting down on a chair, and getting up from a chair and walking 16 feet. Improvements in strength, power, and fat-free mass correlated positively with improvement in the functional activities. This study shows that resistance training can improve strength and power at any age and such changes lead to improvement in performance of daily life activities.