Strength training programs on resistance equipment is the fitness investment for the older population. Consistent strength programs have shown evidence that people 67 to 91 years of age will increase in muscular strength, functional mobility and balance. Both men and women will have similar increases in strength and muscle mass (Munning 1993).
Strength programs for the older population are similar to those designed for a younger population, only modified to a different fitness level.
Researchers have illustrated a notable amount of strength increases by beginning muscular fitness programs using 30 percent of 1 repetition maximum and progressing gradually up to 80 percent of 1 repetition maximum (Parsons et al. 1992).
Based on this information, we recommend a strength program three days per week, progressing up to three sets of eight to 10 repetitions for each exercise on weight machines or free weights. Safety guidelines such as proper breathing technique, proper seat and weight adjustments should be followed to avoid any injuries. Schedule an appointment at the Fitness Center to develop an individualized weight training program.
Strength training, in addition to cardiovascular activities and a stretching program, is a good investment especially for the older population.
By Michelle Bishop, B.S.
Lutheran General Fitness Center