Task-specific resistance training adaptations in older adults: comparing traditional and functional exercise interventions

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

Key Points

  1. Annual reduction in muscle strength starts at 1%/year at year 30 and increases to 3%/year at age 70. Age-related strength reduction can be decreased and reversed through appropriate strength training programs.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Without performing regular strength training, an individual’s strength starts decreasing at the age of 30 by 1% annually and by 70 that % of annual reduction increases to 3% (1). This leads to increased difficulty performing household work, using public transportation, carrying groceries, climbing stairs, standing from a chair, frailty, falls, co-morbidities, and elevated all-cause mortality. Thus, it is recommended that older adults perform strength training at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity twice per week (2). Most resistance training guidelines for older adults are based on free-weight and machine exercises which may be inaccessible and lack carryover to activities of daily living (2).

The objective of this study was to examine if resistance training adaptations in older adults are task specific.

Without performing regular strength training, an individual’s strength starts decreasing at the age of 30 by 1% annually and by 70 that % of annual reduction increases to 3%.
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Task specificity of exercises among older adults is an important consideration when providing an exercise program.

METHODS

Design: 6-week, randomized pre-test/post-test design.

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