Study Proves You’re Never Too Old To Benefit From Strength Training

According to a study involving a group of Florida nursing home residents, strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for men and women of all ages.

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., Gary Reinl and Donna Califano, PTA, did a study titled “Strength Training Elderly Nursing Home Patients.”

In the study, 19 Florida nursing home residents, whose average age was 88.5 years, completed a 14-week strength training program using Nautilus equipment.

Nautilus Leg Press
Nautilus Leg Press
They did 6 exercises – leg press, triceps press, seated row, trunk extension, neck flexion and neck extension.

They exercised twice a week, for about 20 minutes each time.  However, actual strength training only lasted about 6 minutes per session.

Using standard Nautilus protocol, they did one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

The results were stunning!

Although the participants’ average weight increased by .8% during the study, their fat weight decreased by 9.8% and their lean weight increased by 3.8%.

Strength, as measured by improvements on the leg press, increased by 81.2% over the course of the study.

Flexibility, as shown by hip flexibility, increased by 57.8%.

Functional ability, measured in mobility distance, improved by 71.4%.

Falls decreased by 36.4% compared to pre-program frequency.

And there were no injuries.

The authors of the study concluded that a sensible and supervised strength training program helped these seniors improve body composition, muscle strength, joint flexibility and
functional capacity.

There you have it.  No matter what age we are, we can benefit from a safe and sensible weight training program with as little as 2 workouts a week.

One thought on “Study Proves You’re Never Too Old To Benefit From Strength Training

  1. This study disproves the common notions among physical therapists in my part of the country (central Texas) that there can be no gain in strength by physical therapy without pain and that increasing reps at gradually increasing loads merely increases endurance. Furthermore, the study proves that it is possible to measure progress in physical therapy numerically rather than subjectively by opinions of therapists. This was very disturbing to me when my wife was receiving therapy in a nursing home and I soon noticed that any elderly person in that home who received therapy for two weeks was thereafter seen in the halls as a resident of the home. Where is the motivation for therapists to strive for rehabilitation of the elderly in a nursing home when their salaries are paid by the nursing home? When they inform you that your loved one is no longer to receive Medicare coverage they make it sound like Medicare made that decision. When I called Medicare to ask if they expected my 80-year old wife to progress as rapidly as a 45-year old they told me they don’t make such judgements and accept the recommendations of the therapists.

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