Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly Study
Researchers in Portugal at the University of Coimbra conducted a recent study on sedentary individuals.
However, this group of sedentary people who were recruited for the study had an average age of 76. Of the 63 total participants in this study, they were randomized to a control group, progressive aerobic, and a progressive strength training group. The exercise itself was scheduled at three times per week for a total of 16 weeks.
I personally couldn’t imagine taking up exercise at the age of 76 if I had been previously sedentary. Of course, you should always discuss exercise plans with your doctor, particularly if you have any medical conditions. For those who’re around the age of the study participants, this is of greater importance. I don’t imagine many in that age group read this blog, but you never know, right?
What the researchers found in this study was that even people who started exercise at an average age of 76, experienced significant benefits on metabolic health indicators.
Results: Exercise Benefits for the Elderly
- Reductions in body weight, waist circumference, body mass index
- Improvement in diastolic blood pressure
- Improvement in blood lipid profiles – triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol relationship
- Decreased C-reactive protein (a market of inflammation)
- Increase in 6-minute walk distance
[box type="important"]Bottom line: It looks like it’s never too late to experience health benefits from exercise. Specifically these benefits include weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, markers of inflammation–not to mention improvements in actual fitness.[/box]
From the Study Authors:
“In conclusion, the training programs used in this study produced significant benefits on 6-minute walk distance, DBP, BW, WC, BMI, TG, TC, HDL-C, LDL-C, TC/HDL-C, and hs-CRP. Accordingly, the results of the current study suggest that moderate intensity aerobic-based and strength-based programs, with 16 weeks of duration, are enough to positively influence the metabolic health indicators of sedentary older women and men.”
Note: Though the two groups were divided into aerobic and strength training protocols, it doesn’t seem that the study authors made note of any differences between these two groups. A previous study involving a much younger population suggested that a combination of strength and endurance training was more effective than either alone for weight loss and improving health.
- Martins RA, Veríssimo MT, Coelho E Silva MJ, Cumming SP, Teixeira AM. Effects of aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health indicators in older adults. Lipids Health Dis. 2010 Jul 22;9(1):76.