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Mounting Evidence Suggests that Strength Training Can help to resist the Ravages of Aging

Tuft's University 1994 Study: A landmark study done by Tuft's University in 1994 randomly placed 100 frail nursing home residents age 72-95 years in a strength training group for 10 weeks. Ninety four percent of the subjects(63 women and 37 men) completed the study. Muscular strength increased by about 113% in the subjects engaged in resistance training. Gail velocity increased by about 11.8%. Stair climbing power also improved in the exercisers when compared with the non-exercisers (about 28% vs 3.6) as did the level of spontaneous physical activity. The thigh muscle increased 2.7% in the exerciser, but declined 1.8% in the non-exercisers.

University of Alabama Study: A recent study at the University of Alabama proves dramatic changes in fourteen women ages 66 to 77, who participated in three one hour strength training sessions per week for 16 weeks (Harvard Health Letter #38). The women did both upper and lower body exercises on stationary weight machines. They did not use a treadmill, bike or other aerobic equipment. At the end of four months, the women were able to carry a bag of groceries with 38% less effort than they had extended before training. They could also raise from a chair with 40% less stress on their leg muscles. Even though walking was not part of the training program, walking speed increased 18%. "These findings show that proper conditioning translates into an improved ability to preform daily activities critical to maintaining independence," said Dr. Rooks of Harvard Medical School.

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