Q&A: What role does strength training play in healthy aging?

Q&A: What role does strength training play in healthy aging?

by MATT BRZYCKI

It’s widely known that as people age, they experience a loss of lean body mass, particularly muscle mass. The role of strength training in preserving muscle mass—and, by association, functional strength—is obvious. But what about improving markers of overall health?

Data from 10,500 men (average age 58 at baseline) in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study revealed that those who did strength training for at least 25 minutes per day experienced favorable outcomes, including a smaller waist circumference. This is interesting in that waist circumference can be used as a proxy to assess central adiposity. In general, having central body fat (being “apple shaped”) is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease than having peripheral body fat (being “pear shaped”).

REFERENCES:
MEKARY, R.A., ET AL. “WEIGHT TRAINING, AEROBIC PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES, AND LONG-TERM WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE CHANGE IN MEN.” OBESITY, 23, NO. 2 (FEB 2015): 461-67.

Matt Brzycki is the Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Fitness at Princeton University. He has more than 30 years of experience at the collegiate level and has authored, co-authored and edited 17 books.

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