Aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities may be the most effective way of preserving muscle strength and muscle power in the elderly

In July 2018 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess the association between levels of physical activity and physical performance in elderly individuals. The researchers stated that it has been observed that aging brings with it a loss in both muscle strength and muscle power, which can lead to loss of function and independence. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans includes a recommendation for muscle strengthening exercises, although there is currently no evidence that undertaking muscle strengthening exercises twice a week for all major muscle groups reduces the risk of frailty in older adults. A total of 85 community-dwelling adults (50 women, 35 men; average age 68 years) were included in the study. Information on the amount of muscle-strengthening and aerobic exercise undertaken was collected via an internet-based survey. The individuals were then divided into groups according to recommendations in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines: (1) muscle strengthening 2 or more days per week, (2) muscle strengthening 2 or more days per week using all major muscle groups, or (3) 150 minutes or more per week of aerobic moderate to vigorous physical activity. In addition, physical performance measures of grip strength, 10-m walk test five-time sit-to-stand test and stair climb test were assessed. Results showed that those undertaking muscle strengthening 2 or more days per week performed significantly better in the grip strength and stair climbing tests. However, only 27% of individuals met the more stringent-strengthening guideline of 2 or more days per week using all major muscle groups, and these individuals performed significantly better on the stair climbing and five-time sit-to-stand tests. The individuals meeting the aerobic activity guideline were seen to perform significantly better on the stair climbing, five-time sit-to-stand, and the 10-m walk tests. It was noted that those individuals who met either the strengthening and aerobic activity guidelines performed significantly better in all 4 physical performance measures than individuals who did not meet the guidelines.

Trudelle-Jackson E, Jackson AW. Do Older Adults Who Meet 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines Have Better Physical Performance Than Those Who Do Not Meet? J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2018 Jul/Sep;41(3):180-185.

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