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 Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As Young As You Feel  
 

In summary, seniors have much to gain from regular strength training, particularly as part of a supervised exercise program. The senior men and women in this study reported looking, feeling, and functioning better, which is consistent with their recorded improvements in body weight, body composition, and resting blood pressure. It appears that an hour of exercise two or three times a week is one of the best investments seniors can make for their health and fitness.

Table 1
Changes in body weight and body composition for young, middle-aged and older program participants (N=1132).

*Statistically significant change (p<.01).

Age Body Wt. Pre (lb.) Body Wt. Post (lb.) Body Wt. Change (lb.) Body Fat Pre (%) Body Fat Post (%) Body Fat Change (%) Fat Wt. Pre (lb.) Fat Wt. Post (lb.) Fat
Wt.
Change (lb.)
Lean Wt. Pre (lb.) Lean Wt. Post (lb.) Lean Wt. Change (lb.)

21-40 years (N=238) 176.5 173.9 -2.6* 27.2 24.9 -2.3* 49.1 44.2 -4.9* 127.4 129.7 +2.3*
41-60 years (N=553) 179.9 177.9 -2.0* 27.0 24.9 -2.1* 48.9 44.5 -4.4* 130.8 133.1 +2.3
61-80 years (N=341) 172.7 171.0 -1.7* 25.6 23.6 -2.0* 44.7 40.6 -4.1* 128.0 130.4 +2.4*

Table 2
Changes in resting blood pressure for the young, middle-aged, and older program participants (N=785).

* Statistically significant change (p<.01).

Age Systolic BP Pre (mm Hg) Systolic BP Post (mm Hg) Systolic BP Cange (mm Hg) Diastolic BP Pre (mm Hg) Diastolic BP Post (mm Hg) Diastolic BP Change (mm Hg)

21-40 years (N=238) 121.2 116.7 -4.5* 76.1 72.9 -3.2*
41-60 years (N=553) 127.9 125.4 -2.5* 79.0 76.6 -2.4*
61-60 years (N=341) 143.1 136.9 -6.2* 80.1 76.4 -3.7*

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 About The Author
Wayne Westcott PhDWayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. He is strength training consultant for numerous national organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise, the......more
 
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