Ageing Gracefully Through Strength Training

Enter Chris Allen……

Our strength increases up to 25-30 years of age. After this, if no preventative action is taken, strength declines in both genders due to muscle atrophy (muscle tissue replaced by fibrous and fatty tissue). Body weight will increase but we have less strength to carry that weight around.

“If no preventative action is taken, strength declines in both genders…”

Lack of strength in later life can have such a negative impact on our overall health, quality of life, state of independence, and reduce life expectancy.

If you consider the women in the picture getting out of the pool, a simple thing such as this could be a problem for many older people due to lack of strength.

Aging Gracefully with Vis-Therapeia

The benefits of strength training on general health and wellbeing have been extensively reported (Fiatarone, Marks, Ryan, Meredith, Lipsitz and Evans 1990; Fiatarone, O’Neill, Ryan, Clements, Solares., et al. 1994; Doherty 2003).

Targeted strength training can prevent lower back pain (Stephan, Goebel and Schmidtbleicher 2011), reduce and offset osteopenia/osteoporosis (Hurly and Roth 2000) and osteoarthritis (Marks 1993), improve cardiovascular health (Parker, Hunter and Trueth 1996), help manage and reduce metabolic syndromes such as diabetes (McGuff and Little 2009), reduce the frequencies of falls in the elderly (Vandervoort, 2002), and prevent disability and chronification resulting from conditions such dementia and Parkinson’s disease in later life (Carter, Kunnas and Khan, 2001).

Therefore, if elderly people participate in regular strength training this may positively impact their own state of independence and quality of life.

“Targeted strength training can prevent back pain, reduce and offset osteoporosis, improve cardiovascular health, help manage and reduce metabolic syndromes such as diabetes”.

From personal experience of training older people, it’s really important that they strengthening muscles that support their overall posture and their ability to function. So I prescribe preventative strength training (PST) which is targeted exercise routines that focus on strengthening areas such as the neck, shoulder, hip, lumbar spine, knees, wrists and hands in isolation. These training techniques also ensure that the larger muscles of the chest, back and legs are strengthened. In all, you get a whole body strength training programme that focuses on correcting any muscular imbalances or weaknesses. This will have a positive impact on physiological components of the body (i.e.: heart, nervous system, lymphatic system, endocrine system, and digestive system), so that you will have the physical strength for life’s challenges.

“Older people really need to strengthen muscles that support their overall posture and their ability to function.”

If you have any questions regarding this article or wish to find out more about Vis-Therapeia (Chris’s strength clinic), please contact Chris on 07859344637.


Nick D. Carter, Pekka Kannus and Karim M. Khan. Exercise in the prevention of falls in the elderly. Sports Med 2001; 31 (6): 427-438.

Timothy J. Doherty. Aging and sarcopenia. J Appl Physiol, 2003; 95: 1717–1727.

Maria A. Fiatarone , O’Neil EF, Ryan, ND, et al. Exercise training and nutritional supplementation for physical frailty in very elderly people. N Engl J Med 1994; 330: 1769-1775.

Maria A. Fiatarone, Elizabeth C. Marks, Nancy D. Ryan, Carol N. Meredith, Lewis A. Lipsitz, and William J. Evans. High intensity strength training in nonagenarians: effects of skeletal muscle. JAMA June 1990; 263 (22): 3029-3034.

Ben F. Hurley and Stephen M. Roth. Strength training in the elderly: effects on risk factors for age related disease. Sports Med 2000 Oct; 30 (4): 249-268.

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