Although most people have heard about the benefits of regular physical activity, it is very common for adults to exercise less often as they age. Exercising regularly can improve many health factors, including mood, bone health, energy levels, brain health, and weight management. Continuing to exercise as you get older is crucial in order to maintain strength and functional capacity. In fact, many of the changes in body composition, muscular strength and functionality that occur with age are more related to inactivity than to aging itself. According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, adults over the age of 65 should be getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise (exercise that causes sweating and heavier-than-normal breathing). Exercise programs should also include 2 days per week of resistance training as well as balance training. Despite these recommendations, 85% of seniors do not meet physical activity guidelines. Staying as strong as possible as you age directly translates to benefits in daily life. Everyday activities such as walking, standing up from a chair, and going up and down stairs require both the rapid production of muscle power to stabilize yourself, and the strength to carry and move your own bodyweight. Resistance training can help make these activities much easier to do!
painPRO’s Kinesiologists and other practitioners are experts in safely introducing our patients of all ages to a strength training regimen that is right for them. At painPRO, we are able to prescribe suitable exercises to our patients, and recognize when our patients are able to move on to the next progression. We also emphasize teaching safe form and exercise mechanics to prevent injuries and ensure that our patients are getting the most benefit from each exercise.
One type of strength training that is essential for older adults to practice is called eccentric training. Eccentric muscle contractions involve the muscle contracting while simultaneously lengthening (think slowly lowering yourself into a chair). Eccentric strength is necessary to be able to do many daily activities. For example, eccentric strength of your quadriceps (front thigh muscles) is used when walking down stairs while you are lowering yourself to the next step, and eccentric strength of your hamstrings (back thigh muscles) is used every time you take a step.
At painPRO, we use the kBox flywheel training device, designed specifically for eccentric strength training. It can be used for many resistance training exercises including squats, deadlifts and rows in order to rehabilitate injuries, improve or maintain bone health and muscle strength and decrease fall risk. If you are a new reader of our blog, click here for a blog post by chiropractor Dr. Tony Macdougall with more information about how the kBox works!
- Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines: http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_older-adults_en.pdf
- Choose to Move: Implementation Science in Action, Active Aging Research Dr. Heather McKay and Christa Hoy
- Krishnathasan, D., & Vandervoort, A. A. (2000). Eccentric strength training prescription for older adults. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 15(3), 29-40. doi:10.1097/00013614-200003000-00006