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Study Co-authored by TC's Ciccolo Finds Older Adults Benefit From Strength Training

Study Co-authored by TC's Ciccolo Finds Older Adults Benefit From Strength Training
A Study Co-Authored by TC’s Ciccolo Finds that Older Adults Benefit from Strength Training

A study co-authored by Joseph Ciccolo, Assistant Professor of Applied Physiology and director of TC’s Applied Exercise Psychology Laboratory, has found that strength training (ST) is uncommon among older Americans and even less common among older adults who need it the most. The study concludes that “potential for ST to improve the public’s health is therefore substantial, as those who have the most to gain from ST participate the least.”

The study, titled “Is Exercise Used as Medicine?” and published in the May 27th issue of Preventive Medicine, employs data from some 6,700 older adult participants of the National Health Interview Survey conducted in 2011 in the United States. 

Overall, 16.1of older adults in the study reported meeting ST guidelines. For each of nine functional limitations, those with that limitation were less likely to meet ST recommendations than those without that limitation. For example, 20.0 percent of those who reported no difficulty walking one-quarter mile met ST guidelines, versus only 10.1 percent of those who reported difficulty. 
Ciccolo is the coauthor with William J. Kraemer of the University of Connecticut of Resistance Training for the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease. The book includes  chapters from 29 contributors on how resistance training can help deal with a dozen major chronic conditions – including cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, and depression and anxiety.  

“Resistance training is the bastard child of physical activity,” Ciccolo says. “It’s too often thought of as an add-on.” For example, as he and Kraemer point out in the introduction to their book, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ physical activity guidelines, issued in 2008, emphasize aerobic activity, with recommended weekly amounts of moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise. Only the fourth and final guideline calls for “muscle-strengthening activities” at least twice a week, as these “provide additional health benefits.”

LINK:  Is exercise used as medicine? Association of meeting strength training guidelines and functional limitations among older US adults

Published Monday, Jun. 2, 2014