By Lakeview Physio
Barbara Ward
BScPT, BPE, Certified Gunn IMS Practitioner, Spinal Manipulation, FCAMT
March 6, 2024

Note to the wise, prevention is much less painful than trying to make gains once age-related decline becomes significant.

Losing your independence, function and health is no joke.  Even though we realize (or maybe deny) that aging is inevitable and that every physiological function will decline, we ignore the overwhelming evidence that physical activity and exercise can lessen the slope and speed of our decline.

There is growing interest in the research to understand how to reduce functional decline and chronic disease in older adults.  Because people are living longer, the world population is aging.  By 2050 it is anticipated that the number of adults over 65 years of age will double and between 2019 and 2050 the number of people over 80 will triple (Izquierdo).  

There is little doubt in the literature that physical activity and exercise are powerful drivers of healthy aging (process of developing and maintaining functional ability) even in the most elderly.

Most of us are familiar with the World Health Organization’s recommendations for physical activity for health in adults 65 and older: 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and two or more days of muscle strengthening activity per week.  Aerobic training seems to have taken the spotlight.   Many people have started engaging in counting steps etc. however, there has not been the same enthusiasm regarding strengthening.

Research is now suggesting that resistance exercise training is as effective if not more effective in reducing risk factors for mobility disability and chronic disease (Mcleod).  

Now, if you really want to slow the age-related decline then you should combine both aerobic and resistance training!  Remember that you will get out what you put in; that means the dosage and intensity of your exercise matters.  You will make more gains (or less decline) if you exercise at a higher intensity (Chen).

Note to the wise, prevention is much less painful than trying to make gains once age-related decline becomes significant.  

If you need some guidance on how and where to start with resistance and or aerobic training, see your physiotherapist or health professional for advice.  

Life is short – Lift heavy things.


Chen YC, Chen W-C, et al. (2023). Is moderate resistance training adequate for older adults with sarcopenia? A systematic review and network meta-analysis of RCTs. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity volume 20, Article number: 22

Izquierdo, M., et al. (2021). International exercise recommendations in older adults (ICFSR): Expert consensus guidelines. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 25(7), 824–853.

Mcleod JC, Stokes T, Phillips SM. (2019). Resistance Exercise Training as a Primary Countermeasure to Age-Related Chronic Disease. Front Physiol. 2019 Jun 6:10:645. PMID: 31244666


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