Older people benefit from lifting weights and eating more protein

Older people encouraged to lift weights

You may not have imagined you would spend your retirement lifting weights, but that is exactly what health experts have started to encourage older people to do.

A study by researchers at the University of Dublin has shown conclusively how much older people can benefit from working their muscles and having more protein in their diets.

The study, which was completed by researchers at St Vincent’s University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin was published in The British Journal of General Practice. The results found a combination of muscle strength training and protein supplementation was the most effective way to delay or reverse frailty.

Frailty among older people is growing and it can affect someone’s ability to carry out general tasks. In later life, it is very common for people to rely on a variety of mobility equipment including stairlifts to help them carry out everyday tasks.

There were 46 studies as part of the research and in total it involved 15,690 people. The studies used 17 different screening criteria to identify people living with frailty. Researchers concluded that roughly two-thirds of the studies showed their interventions improved frailty.

Interventions that included weight training and increased protein intake, or supplementation, were consistently rated highest in effectiveness.

The NHS stated that the study’s findings were “generally in-keeping with physical activity guidelines for older adults, who, just like everyone else, should do strengthening exercises that work all major muscle groups on at least two days per week”.

It also stated, “a healthy and balanced diet is also essential, and protein is a vital component necessary for growth and repair in the body”.

The NHS has published some advice on physical activity for older adults. It suggests that adults aged 65+ and who are generally fit should try daily activity including strength exercises on two or more days a week. This can include movements such as bicep curls or sit-ups.

Other ways to strengthen muscles include carrying or moving items such as groceries, doing some gardening or doing some exercises which use your body weight for resistance such as push-ups.

It is also recommended that older adults at risk of falls, such as people with weak legs, poor balance and some medical conditions, should do exercises to improve balance and co-ordination at least two days a week. Examples include yoga and tai chi.

The benefits of being active daily include maintaining cognitive function, reducing cardiovascular risk and improving mood and self-esteem.

This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.