Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Never too old to pump iron

Keiser Training reports: [edited]

Over the past 10 years we have pioneered the use of high intensity progressive resistance training in frail elders between 80 and 105 years of age. The concept of using this mode of exercise in such an aged population was generated by the realization that sarcopenia [degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength] and its associated muscle dysfunction and metabolic consequences is a major impediment to attainment of the fullest possible quality of life in this cohort.

We have seen that high intensity progressive resistance training is feasible, safe, and effective in nonagenarians in a variety of settings: nursing home, chronic hospital, outpatient clinics, continuing care communities, and individual homes. The injury rate is extremely low, and very few medical conditions are incompatible with its usage.

It can be administered by individuals themselves, family, caregivers, students and volunteers after simple training courses. The benefits we have seen to date include improvements in muslcle strength, muscle mass, gait speed, balance, stairclimbing ability, overall physical activity levels, functional status, morale, depression, sleep, and nutritional intake.

Muscle biopsy samples indicate activation of satellite cells and myogenic precursor appearance, as well as expression of developmental myosin and IGF-1, all indicative of the plasticity and remodeling of the skeletal muscle at this very advanced age.