A minimal dose approach to resistance training for the older adult; the prophylactic for aging

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Abstract

A plethora of research has supported the numerous health benefits of resistance training as we age, including positive relationships between muscular strength, muscle mass and reduced all-cause mortality. As such, resistance training has been referred to as medicine. However, participation and adherence remains low, with time constraints and perceived difficulty often cited as barriers to resistance training. With this in mind, we aimed to summarise the benefits which might be obtained as a product of a minimal dose approach. In this sense, participation in resistance training might serve as a prophylactic to delay or prevent the onset of biological aging. A short review of studies reporting considerable health benefits resulting from low volume resistance training participation is presented, specifically considering the training time, frequency, intensity of effort, and exercises performed. Research supports the considerable physiological and psychological health benefits from resistance training and suggests that these can be obtained using a minimal dose approach (e.g. ≤ 60 min, 2 d-wk− 1), using uncomplicated equipment/methods (e.g. weight stack machines). Our hope is that discussion of these specific recommendations, and provision of an example minimal dose workout, will promote resistance training participation by persons who might otherwise have not engaged. We also encourage medical professionals to use this information to prescribe resistance exercise like a drug whilst having an awareness of the health benefits and uncomplicated methods.

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