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Older and stronger: Progressive resistance training can build muscle, increase strength as we age
Date:3/31/2011

ANN ARBOR, Mich.Getting older doesn't mean giving up muscle strength.

Not only can adults fight the battle of strength and muscle loss that comes with age, but the Golden Years can be a time to get stronger, say experts at the University of Michigan Health System.

"Resistance exercise is a great way to increase lean muscle tissue and strength capacity so that people can function more readily in daily life," says Mark Peterson, Ph.D., a research fellow in the U-M Physical Activity and Exercise Intervention Research Laboratory, at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Through resistance training adults can improve their ability to stand up out of a chair walk across the floor, climb a flight of stairs -- anything that requires manipulating their own body mass through a full range of motions.

Normally, adults who are sedentary beyond age 50 can expect muscle loss of up to 0.4 pounds a year.

"That only worsens as people age. But even earlier in adulthood - the 30s, 40s and 50s - you can begin to see declines if you do not engage in any strengthening activities," Peterson says.

"Our analyses of current research show that the most important factor in somebody's function is their strength capacity. No matter what age an individual is, they can experience significant strength improvement with progressive resistance exercise even into the eighth and ninth decades of life," he says.

Progressive resistance training means that the amount of weight used, and the frequency and duration of training sessions is altered over time to accommodate an individual's improvements.

A review article by U-M researchers, published in The American Journal of Medicine, shows that after an average of 18-20 weeks of progressive resistance training, an adult can add 2.42 pounds of lean muscle to their body mass and increases their overall strength by 25-30 percent.

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Contact: Jessica Soulliere
jesssoul@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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