Fitness News

Out-Muscle the Grim Reaper

Here’s more reason for older adults to pump iron: Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have found a new link between lifting weights and longevity.

Published in the American Journal of Medicine (2014; doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2014.02.007), the study examined all-cause mortality rates among 3,659 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III. Subjects had originally completed the survey between 1988 and 1994. At that time, the men were aged 55 or older, and the women were 65 or older. Each participant underwent bioelectrical impedance testing to measure skeletal muscle mass. In the current study, that data was then compared against all-cause mortality rates.

Researchers discovered that total mortality was significantly lower for subjects in the fourth quartile of muscle mass index than it was for those in the first quartile.

“This study demonstrates the survival predication ability of relative muscle mass and highlights the need to look beyond total body mass in assessing the health of older adults,” concluded the authors.

Do you want to incorporate strength training into your older clients’ programs? Take note of these tips from Nic DeCaire, owner of FusionTM Fitness Center in Newark, Delaware:

  • Start with in-depth health histories. It’s important to know about any medications clients are currently taking or surgeries they’ve had that could hinder certain movements.
  • Assess fitness levels. Can your clients get up from the floor if they fall?
  • Set realistic goals. Teaching older clients how to do a barbell squat when they have had both knees replaced and their flexibility is poor is not a good goal.
  • Find a meaningful connection with exercise. Do they want to get on the ground and play with their grandchildren? Educate them on how strength training will help them achieve that goal.
  • Teach them something new. Learning how to use kettlebells can be exciting for older adults. Maybe their grandchildren are working out with kettlebells, and it will give your clients something to talk about with them.
  • Get older clients off exercise machines. The worst thing you can have them do is sit down. They sit down all day.
  • Strength train in groups. If it becomes a social thing for them, they are more likely to stick with it.