Physical frailty is weakness, slowness, unintentional weight loss, and fatigue. If your body starts wasting, so does your ability to go about your daily life and do things you enjoy. The body’s hormones that are responsible for maintaining muscle mass decline with age. Since older adults tend to be less active and eat less protein, aging challenges our bodies in keeping muscles strong.
Strength training helps stop the loss of muscle function that comes with aging. Per Brandon Grubbs, PhD and assistant professor of exercise science and co-leader of the Positive Aging Consortium at Middle Tennessee State University, strength training “stimulates muscle growth and enhances muscle tissue quality, meaning you can generate more force with a given amount of muscle.”
Strength training can be intimidating for anyone, especially seniors; fear of pain, fatigue or injury can keep your residents from participating. While traditional resistance training will build muscle and strength, Grubbs suggested that older adults focus on power: the skill of applying force quickly. Power is better related to the ability to perform activities of daily living. This includes walking speed and going from sitting to standing. What are you waiting for? Gather the masses, get your residents involved, schedule a QAPI meeting and discuss opportunities to include therapy and activities, and of course, before beginning any exercise program, consult with the attending physician! Stay well and stay informed!
For more information:
ACSM Position Stand – Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults
- Human skeletal muscle acetylcholine receptor gene expression in elderly males performing heavy resistance exercise
Grubbs, Brandon, PhD. “Strength Training for Older Adults.” www.webmd.com, 14, April 2023, https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20230414/how-old-is-too-old-to-start-strength-training