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NSCA Recommends Resistance Training for Older Adults

Andy Berg

The National Strength and Conditioning Association has released a detailed position statement, which was published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, that contends older adults have a lot to gain from resistance training.

According to the statement, the benefits of resistance training “are almost overwhelming.” The NSCA argues that too few older adults participate in resistance training, largely because of fear, confusion, and lack of consensus to guide implementation. 

This position statement is intended to 

  • Help foster a more unified and holistic approach to resistance training for older adults.
  • Promote the health and functional benefits of resistance training for older adults.
  • Prevent or minimize fears and other barriers to implementation of resistance training programs for older adults.

Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the US population. By 2030 one in five residents will be over the age of 65. Aging, even in the absence of chronic disease, is associated with a variety of biological changes that can contribute to decreases in skeletal muscle mass, strength, and function.

“Such losses decrease physiologic resilience and increase vulnerability to catastrophic events,” the NSCA stated in a press release announcing the position statement. “As such, strategies for both prevention and treatment are necessary for the health and well-being of older adults.

Current research has demonstrated that countering muscle disuse via resistance training is a powerful intervention to combat the loss of muscle strength and muscle mass, physiological vulnerability, and their debilitating consequences on physical functioning, mobility, independence, chronic disease management, psychological well-being, quality of life, and healthy life expectancy.”

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