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The Importance Of Strength Training For Healthy Ageing

Train your muscle to train your health! It is the message that everyone should be aware of.

There is a notable increase in the prevalence of diseases of aging, such as sarcopenia (muscle loss). It is defined by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) as a 'syndrome' characterized by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength with the risk of adverse outcomes such as physical disability, poor quality of life, and death. Aging is also associated with it.

The causes of aging are complex, and a variety of common processes have been implicated in multiple tissues as being involved in driving the decline in function seen with increasing age. Some potential factors implicated in the functional decline of muscle include programmed cell death, oxidative stress, alterations in protein turnover, inflammation, hormonal dysregulation, and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Mitochondrial dysfunction and muscle atrophy are one of the causes and characteristics of premature aging. One of the factors that contribute to improving this mitochondrial dysfunction is resistance training.

When we talk about strength training and weights, we think of merely an aesthetic component, forgetting that this component is a simple consequence. The reality is that strength training entails a healthy hormonal and nervous environment important for short and long-term health. The musculoskeletal tissue possesses remarkable plasticity in response to repeated stimuli, such as resistance training.

The most important principles of exercise training that must be followed are:

• To apply an overload: the positive adaptation occurs only if the actual training load overcomes the habitual level.

• Specificity and individualization: all exercisers are different based on training experience and genetics (even in the same age range).

Periodization: training load (e.g., intensity, volume) must vary over time to avoid accommodation.

Inactivity in adults causes a loss between 3% to 8% of muscle mass every decade, accompanied by a decrease in resting metabolic expenditure, increased fat, increased risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes,

Working strength in a programmed, progressive, and adapted way produces benefits at all levels, associated with a better quality of life and therefore, healthy aging.

- Improve insulin sensitivity

- Reduce fat deposition and visceral fat

- Improve inflammatory parameters.

- Reduces markers of oxidative stress and increased activity of antioxidant enzymes

- Improve cardiovascular health

- Improve the bone mineral density

- Improve chronic pain disorders

- Reduce the risk of metabolic disorders (obesity, diabetes type 2, dyslipidemia)

- Improves mental health, and self-esteem

- Improves lipid profile, improving HDL levels and decreasing LDL and triglyceride levels.

- Improve body composition.


Various types of resistance training have been proposed as useful approaches for improving body composition, muscle strength, power, and physical function in older adults.

Among these, suspension-based resistance training (S-RT) involves attaching body segments to suspended hanging straps, creating an unstable environment. Multi-joint exercises while fighting gravity, squats, or deadlifts that provide a greater stimulus to hypertrophy by involving larger muscle groups have been shown to maintain good posture, as well as, the combination of body weight exercises with weights in different directions, speeds, or intensities.


In short, strength-based resistance training with or without other anti-sarcopenia strategies (e.g., high-protein diet, creatine supplementation, etc.) is a safe and effective methodology to avoid the progress of sarcopenia (muscle loss) by improving changes in body composition (increase muscle mass) and functionality that is affected by the aging process.

Individualized and periodized resistance training programs delay loss of muscle mass and functionality.

The individual's strength, the learning path of exercise movement (technique), and exercise tolerance and adaptation need to be supervised by health/exercise professionals to avoid the risk of injuries.

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