Periodization Strategies in Older Adults: Impact on Physical Function and Health


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Abstract

PurposeThis study compared the effect of periodized versus nonperiodized (NP) resistance training (RT) on physical function and health outcomes in older adults.MethodsForty-one apparently healthy untrained older adults (women = 21, men = 20; 70.9 ± 5.1 yr; 166.3 ± 8.2 cm; 72.9 ± 13.4 kg) were recruited and randomly stratified to a NP, block periodized, or daily undulating periodized training group. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline and after a 22-wk × 3 d·wk−1 RT intervention, including; anthropometrics, body composition, blood pressure and biomarkers, maximal strength, functional capacity, balance confidence, and quality of life.ResultsThirty-three subjects satisfied all study requirements and were included in analyses (women = 17, men = 16; 71.3 ± 5.4 yr; 166.3 ± 8.5 cm; 72.5 ± 13.7 kg). The main finding was that all three RT models produced significant improvements in several physical function and physiological health outcomes, including; systolic blood pressure, blood biomarkers, body composition, maximal strength, functional capacity and balance confidence, with no between-group differences.ConclusionsPeriodized RT, specifically block periodization and daily undulating periodized, and NP RT are equally effective for promoting significant improvements in physical function and health outcomes among apparently healthy untrained older adults. Therefore, periodization strategies do not appear to be necessary during the initial stages of RT in this population. Practitioners should work toward increasing RT participation in the age via feasible and efficacious interventions targeting long-term adherence in minimally supervised settings.

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