Some years back (I'd rather not say how many...) when I was in my mid-late 30's, I began learning, practicing and coaching the Olympic-style lifts. A friend at the time, who interestingly enough was an avid trainer, said "Are you crazy?! Kids do that s#*t!" Undeterred, I enjoyed many years of the activity that I will resume once I finish rehabilitation of my shoulder! New research suggests that I was not only correct in my choice, but I was way ahead of my time, chronologically speaking.
Researchers in Finland evaluated the effects of resistance training frequency on a group (n= 92) of adults 65-75 years of age. In the six-month study, they compared the impact of one, two, three, or zero (control group) resistance training sessions per week. Whole body resistance training routines consisting of 7-9 exercises performed 2-5 times with 4-12 repetitions per session was conducted in a supervised setting.
The results were encouraging. Statistically significant reductions were observed in total fat mass and abdominal fat mass among the group exercising three times per week. The same group demonstrated significant reductions in low density lipoprotein levels. All exercising groups experienced increases in high density lipoprotein levels. Interestingly, the individuals starting the study with the highest baseline systolic blood pressure levels demonstrated the greater benefit from resistance training, regardless of the training frequency.
The Healthy People 2020 initiative we mentioned previously recommends a minimum of two resistance training sessions per week to include balance and other qualities for folks "of a certain age"; the current study supports this recommendation and reinforces the benefits for people requiring additional body composition and metabolic improvements may be greater with greater training frequency.
Bottom line: Oly-style lifting may not be necessary, but whole body resistance training of varying intensities and volumes, performed three times a week, should be a lifestyle staple as we age!
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(This article was originally posted in LinkedIn, 2/6/19)
The complete study is available here.