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Weight training and more protein beneficial for older people, says study

old person sitting down holding walking stick

With frailty becoming a growing condition amongst older adults, a new review to combat infirmity has found that GPs should look to “prescribe protein powders and weight lifting to pensioners to help reverse frailty”, according to The Daily Telegraph.

According to the National Library of Medicine, frailty can affect “peoples' ability to carry out everyday activities, have a negative impact on quality of life and increase the risk of other health problems.” As well as weak muscles, those suffering from frailty also usually have “conditions like arthritis, poor eyesight, deafness and memory problems. This means older people with frailty will walk slowly, get exhausted easily and struggle to get out of a chair or climb stairs,” says an NHS article. It’s issues like this that can mean they require a stair lift and other mobility aids, even within their home.

The study, conducted by researchers from St Vincent’s University Hospital and Trinity College Dublin, studied a total of 15,690 people over the course of 46 studies, past and present. “The 46 studies used 17 different screening criteria to identify people living with frailty.

“They also covered highly varied interventions – 23 interventions involved physical exercise, though this ranged from mixed aerobic and strength training to specific exercises such as walking or tai-chi. 10 studies involved dietary and health education, 8 involved medication management and 8 involved nutrition supplements. Other studies involved home visits or counselling.”

The results concluded that roughly two-thirds of the 46 studies showed improvements in the frailty of their participants, which can be accounted to these interventions. Furthermore, it found that those that included strength training and increased protein were “consistently rated highest in terms of effectiveness and ease and implementation.”

In terms of recommendations, it seems these results further emphasise the current government guidelines for over-65s, which encourages “weekly aerobic exercise combined with strengthening exercises that work all major muscle groups on at least 2 days per week. Protein is also an essential dietary component which is necessary for growth and repair in the body.”

The results are also in line with government recommendations for reducing the risk of frailty and disability by:

  • being more physically active
  • following a healthy diet
  • stopping smoking
  • reducing alcohol
  • maintaining a healthy weight

For more information about frailty and what you can do to prevent and improve it, visit the NHS’ dedicated frailty webpage here.

To read more about exercise, visit our news section or read some of our other exercise-based articles below.

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