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itness Programs for Older Adults
 

Strength Training For Seniors: The Facts

© Wayne L. Westcott PhD

Bodyweight and Body Composition Changes
The 1,132 basic fitness program participants included 238 young adults (21 to 40 years), 552 middle-aged adults (41 to 60 years), and 341 senior adults (61 to 80 years). As shown in Table 1, all three age groups started the program with similar bodyweights (172.7 lbs. to 179.9 lbs.) and percent fat readings (25.6% to 27.2%).


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

Age Systolic BP Pre (mm Hg) Systolic BP Post (mm Hg) Systolic BP Change
(mm Hg)
Diastolic BP Pre (mm Hg) Diastolic BP Post (mm Hg) Diastolic BP Change (mm Hg)
21-40 years
(N=144)
121.2 116.7 -4.5 76.1 72.9 -3.2
41-60 years (N=375) 127.9 125.4 -2.5 79.0 76.6 -2.4
61-80 years (N=266) 143.1 136.9 -6.2 80.1 76.4 -3.7


The bodyweight and body composition changes were comparable for the young, middle-aged and senior adults. As presented in Table 1, the 21 to 40 year olds lowered their bodyweight by 2.6 pounds and their percent fat by 2.3%. The 41 to 60 year olds decreased their bodyweight by 2.0 pounds and their percent fat by 2.1%. The 61 to 80 year olds reduced their bodyweight by 1.7 pounds and their percent fat by 2.0%.

Changes in fat weight and lean weight were also similar for the three age groups. The 21 to 40 year olds lost 4.9 pounds of fat weight and added 2.3 pounds of lean weight. The 41 to 60 year olds lost 4.4 pounds of fat weight and added 2.3 pounds of lean weight. The 61 to 80 year olds lost 4.1 pounds of fat weight and added 2.4 pounds of lean weight, for a 6.5 pound change in their body composition (see Table 1).

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About The Author
Wayne 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 American Senior Fitness Association, and the National Youth......more
 
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