As adults get older, preserving muscle strength is necessary
to continue an active and independent lifestyle. Exercise
helps maintain strength, especially in the elderly, who lose
muscle continually as part of the aging process. However,
the frequency of exercise necessary to preserve strength is
In a recent study appearing in the Journal of Gerontology:
Biological Sciences, researchers required 10 elderly men
to perform resistance exercises three times per week for 12
weeks. Next, the men were divided into two groups: half returned
to a normal lifestyle free of resistance training, while the
other half continued to train, but at a frequency of only
once per week.
Men in both groups experienced strength gains of about 50%
during the initial 12 weeks of training. Six months after
this training session, the men who had continued to train
only once per
week managed to maintain essentially all their muscle size
and strength. The men who returned to a normal lifestyle lost
11% of their strength, however, and their muscles were reduced
almost to pre-study sizes.
Don't use this study as an excuse to only exercise one day
per week. The point is, even if you can only perform a high-intensity
workout once per week, it is far more effective than never
working out if you want to maintain your strength and mobility.
Ideally, seniors should perform mixed aerobic and resistance
exercises several times per week to prevent injury and disease.
Trappe S, Williamson D, Godard M. Maintenance of whole muscle
strength and size following resistance training in older men.
Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences 2002:57A(4),
For more senior health information, check out http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/senior.