Evidence based

Strength training is essential to remain independent

When older people do not actively use their muscles, they have a greater chance of being admitted to a hospital or nursing home (Sagiv, 2009). Strength training is therefore seen as an essential part of training programs for frail older people (Izquierdo et al., 2017). Sarcopenia is directly associated with a low functional capacity, such as standing up independently from a chair and performing personal care (Janssen et al., 2002). A decrease in functional capacity is again related to an increased fall risk, decreased independence and deteriorated quality of life (Trombetti et al., 2016).

Improvement of muscle strength and muscle mass

Lopez et al. (2018) concluded from a systematic review that strength training alone, or in combination with other training components, results in an increase in muscle mass, an improvement in muscle quality and an increase in muscle strength in frail elderly. Strength training can therefore be seen as an effective intervention for improving age-related muscle weakness.

Improvement of functional mobility

Strength training can make an important contribution to improving the functional mobility of the elderly. Papa et al. (2017) show on the basis of a systematic review that strength training shows, among other things, an improvement in standing up independently from a chair, moving forward, walking speed and making turns while walking. Various studies also show an improvement in the static and dynamic balance (Gonzalez et al., 2014; Kahle et al. 2014; Granacher et al., 2009).

There are also positive effects on low intensity

Sahin et al. (2018) have conducted research into the influence of intensity on the effectiveness of strength training in frail older people. Both the low intensity group and the high intensity group showed improvements in physical and psychological functions. The control group, which did not train, just declined. It can therefore be concluded that strength training, even at low intensity, has important positive effects.


Exercises in game form ensure a high intrinsic motivation

According to the guidelines of the World Health Organization, elderly people should perform strength training at least twice a week (who, 2011). More than 85% of people over the age of 60 do not comply with this guideline (Burton et al., 2017). They are more likely to participate in an activity more often if they are intrinsically motivated (Marcos-Pardo et al., 2018). Van Oudheusden (2013) showed that intrinsic motivation is high when training exercises are used during training.

Strength training appears to be safe intervention

Several studies have looked at the safety aspects of strength training and conclude that strength training is a safe intervention for vulnerable elderly people. During the intervention in the study by Sahin et al. (2018), there were no negative events. This supports the idea that strength training is safe and effective for frail older people. Sparling et al. (1990) measured the blood pressure values ​​of the elderly at the beginning, during and at the end of a strength training session. This revealed no increased risk. During an intensive strength training program for elderly people between the ages of 90 and 99 in the study by Fiatarone et al. (1990), no cardiovascular complications arose, not even among the participants with a cardiovascular disease. Pyka et al. (1994) looked at possible injuries during a high-intensity strength training program for the elderly. These did not occur in their studies.


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