Nifty in your Fifties?

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Gyms might be the kind of places associated with fit, young people in their 20s but growing figures of older people using gyms highlight the importance of remaining fit and healthy to the older generation.

We know that regular exercise reduces the risk of memory decline, muscle loss and heart disease with some scientists describing exercise as the super pill we've been looking for to live happier and healthier through our later decades.

So how can good health add life to years, enabling older men and women to not only live longer, but also to extend their active involvement in all levels of society.

Lots of older people use gyms and feel better for it with many discovering it in retirement. So what does the research say about some of the benefits?

Muscle strength declines with age, but there is evidence that strength can be improved with Progressive Resistance training (PRT), in which people exercise their muscles against some type of resistance that is increased as strength increases. Reviewers from the Cochrane Collaboration’s Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group undertook a systematic review to bring together the evidence on the impact of PRT compared with another type of exercise or no exercise on older people’s physical (dis)ability.

Here’s what they found:

  • PRT had a small but significant effect on improving physical ability
  • PRT had a large effect on increasing strength
  • PRT had a small to moderate effect on decreasing some impairments (anatomical or physiological problems) and functional limitations (performing simple activities such as getting up from a chair, walking, reaching)
  • Participants with osteoarthritis reported a reduction in pain following PRT

The authors concluded:

This review provides evidence that PRT is an effective intervention for improving physical functioning in older people, including improving strength and the performance of some simple and complex activities.

At Coastside Fitness we’ll take the time to get to know you on a personal level and listen to what it is that you’re really trying to achieve by coming to the gym and help tailor your own bespoke program.

After all, if you’re going to the gym today then we want you to enjoy yourself and be happy in making the most of any health and fitness improvements!