According to a study, the health of over 65 year old individuals is improved with a resistance training program, and the benefits can be achieved with as little as one resistance training session a week. The health benefits include improvements in mental well-being, muscle strength and blood values.
Individuals who almost had high cholesterol, high blood glucose, high blood pressure, or high inflammation levels improved the most after a 9-month resistance training program. Resistance training 2 or 3 times a week provided no additional benefit in these individuals. The study however found a resistance training program more than once a week maximized strength development, fat loss and muscle growth. Once a week seemed adequate for improving other muscle strength measures important for the ability of older individuals to perform daily living activities. Resistance training can help in improving the ability to perform activities such as walking down and up the stairs, carrying shopping bags, and even just sitting down.
Psychological measure tests also showed an improvement in overall well-being over the 9-month resistance training period. There were also no real differences if individuals trained only once a week or 2 – 3 times a week. It was found to be of significant importance that psychological well-being was improved in certain individuals and that they were motivated to exercise during the study period as it was those individuals who continued to regularly train even after the study had finished.
The researchers emphasize that the study participants trained safely and hard during the resistance training program. Each training session was closely supervised, ensuring that the correct technique was used and that training loads were always improved on in comparison to previous training sessions. They point out that the study shows the importance of a resistance training program for older individuals, and that even as little as once a week can provide significant benefits.