Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Research highlights the benefits of resistance training for seniors’ fitness

Research highlights the benefits of resistance training for seniors’ fitness
October 4, 2019

According to a new Deakin University study, community exercise programs could be key to helping Australia’s ageing population maintain bone and muscle health, while busting common misconceptions about the type of exercise best for older adults.

Professor Robin Daly, Chair in Exercise and Ageing at Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), said retirees needed to look beyond gentle exercises like walking and water aerobics if they wanted to get serious about their musculoskeletal health.

Professor Daly explained “weight-bearing exercise is crucial to maintain our bone health. Unlike our cardiovascular system, bones like to be regularly stressed and will adapt positively to the loads and demands placed on them.

“Unfortunately that message just doesn’t seem to be getting through, and right now around 75% to 95% of Australians over 50 are not meeting recommended physical activity targets to maintain good bone and muscle health.

“So while we know that exercise can improve musculoskeletal health and function, many people and even medical professionals don’t often know what particular type of exercise works best for older adults to see these improvements.”

Professor Daly has developed an evidence-backed program he’s dubbed ‘Osteo-cise: Strong Bones for Life’, which has been trialled in a number of community leisure centres in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

The trial evaluation was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, and shows that it delivered multiple improvements to muscle and bone health not only in its implementation phase – when researchers were closely overseeing the program – but also after the community leisure centres took over its management.

Professor Daly added “that’s critical, because it’s one thing to see results in a controlled setting where you have all these extra resources and experts working directly with a population group. But we wanted to establish if we could implement a community program that continued to see benefits after we left.

“We showed that what we developed in theory does work in practice in the real world to get older Australians active in improving their musculoskeletal health.”

About 160 people took part in the trial, with half in the exercise program and half making up a control group. The program was targeted at people aged over 60 living in the community who were at risk of falls and fracture due to low bone density or osteopenia.

Gym instructors at participating leisure centres were specifically upskilled to deliver tailored exercise programs targeting the muscles around the hip and spine, including progressive resistance and weight-bearing impact, and how to deliver challenging balance and mobility training to optimise muscle function.

Professor Daly also noted "in the 12 months with researcher supervision the attendance rate was about two out of three sessions per week, and we saw positive effects of exercise on the lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density, improved muscle strength, and physical function.

“During the final six months the attendance dropped to below 50% but the musculoskeletal benefits were maintained following this research to practice phase. So while attendance did drop off somewhat and participants weren’t attending every session, the good news is that the initial benefits were maintained with a lower dose of training.

“Given that time is a major factor stopping people from exercising, this is a really positive finding. Our study shows if you take a correct approach to exercise, multiple bone, muscle and function improvements can be sustained in older adults with low bone density with just one or two training sessions per week.”

Professor Daly is now hoping to secure further funding to translate the ‘Osteo-cise’ program into a national exercise initiative for older adults, adding "what we want to do next is train up more health professionals to deliver this kind of program to older Australians, and provide professional development for clinicians on best practice exercise programs for older people.

“Currently a lot of what is being delivered isn’t evidence-based. So now we’ve shown what works we want to scale that up, and get more older Australians building healthy bones and strong muscles for life.”

Professor Daly’s exercise tips to build bone and muscle health

• Walking, cycling and swimming alone are not effective for preventing bone loss or falls.

• Regular moderate intensity weight bearing exercise that will stress your bones - for example dancing, stepping, jogging, stair climbing, skipping, tennis - are most effective for bone health.

• Rapid, short bursts of weight-bearing exercise are more effective than one long session.

• For the greatest benefits and to also improve muscle mass and strength, include progressive strength (resistance) training - lifting weights that become more challenging over time - at least twice a week and ensure that the exercises target the major muscle groups around the hip and spine.

Related Articles

30th September 2019 - Leschenault Leisure Centre waives gym fees for over 80s fitness program

10th May 2019 - ESSA focuses on Active Ageing during Exercise Right Week 2019

8th February 2019 - Campbelltown Council offers free swimming pool entry during Seniors Festival

7th February 2019 - Surf Life Saving Australia receives funding for its Seniors fitness program

2nd January 2019 - IHRSA highlights role of fitness clubs in supporting all needs and abilities

19th December 2018 - NZREPS highlights the benefits of strength and resistance training in fitness facilities

12th December 2018 - Deakin University launch first report that ranks Australian obesity policies on value for money

20th September 2018 - Move It Aus expanded to focus on older Australians

16th July 2018 - Perth gym runs Living Longer, Living Stronger seniors activity program

12th April 2018 - YMCA Auckland aims to protect seniors from falls

22nd July 2017 - Older Australians healthier and more active but struggling with fitness

29th March 2017 - Study shows HIIT the best exercise for anti-ageing

7th October 2016 - Seniors gym sees improvements in strength and balance

13th January 2016 - New range of outdoor fitness equipment for seniors

10th April 2015 - Deakin University study into the health benefits of parks

26th April 2012 - Ageing population presents opportunites for fitness clubs


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

COMMERCIAL AQUATICS AUSTRALIA

Commercial Aquatics Australia provides aquatic solutions nationwide and is one of the largest and most experienced companies specialising in the design, construction, renovation, service, maintenance…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks

 
 

Fitness On Demand

Fitness On Demand™ is a market-leading developer of virtual group fitness products. Our innovative video delivery systems offer robust content and a simple-to-use, comprehensive web app. Fitness…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

LES MILLS ASIA PACIFIC

Les Mills Asia Pacific Les Mills Asia Pacific (LMAP) have been setting the benchmark for providing professional fitness solutions across Australia and South East Asia since 1996. Our world renowned…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Altitude Training Systems

Also at 3 Squill Place, Arndell Park NSW 2148 ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology

 
 
 

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp)

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp) is an expert retail and marketing services team specialising in sports, leisure, aquatics, fitness, health, wellness & recreation industry. Using proven…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Fitness / Marketing / Retail

 
 

Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

TRISLEYS HYDRAULIC SERVICES

Trisley's Hydraulic Services P/L (THS) are a specialised pool company dealing with all aspects of the commercial swimming pool industry, including the installation and servicing from the smallest…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business