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Strength training in old age maintains mobility, study reveals


June 11, 2011 - Washington

A new study has revealed that regular strength (resistance) training in old age is important in order to maintain mobility and to manage everyday tasks independently.

People lose 30 per cent of their muscle strength between the ages of 50 and 70 years. However, the study found that regular strength (resistance) training increased muscle strength, reduced muscular atrophy, and that tendons and bones adapt too.

These successes in turn had a preventive effect in terms of avoiding falls and injuries.

The authors investigated the extent of the effects that could be achieved by strength (resistance) training in elderly persons and which intensities of exercise are useful and possible in persons older than 60 years.

They found that greater intensities of training yielded greater effects than moderate and low intensities.

In order to increase muscle mass, an intensity of 60-85 per cent of the one-repetition-maximum is required and to increase rapidly available muscle force, higher intensities, more than 85 per cent are required.

They also said that the optimum amount of exercise for healthy elderly persons is 3 to 4 training units per week.

Currently, the proportion of elderly persons who practice strength (resistance) training is about 10-15 per cent.

Frank Mayer and his colleagues from the University of Potsdam published the study in the science journal, 'Deutsches Žrzteblatt International'.

ANI

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