Tag Archives: elderly

For Seniors on a Weight-Loss Diet, Resistance Training Beats Aerobics for Bone Preservation

according to an article at MedPageToday.

"One more rep then I'm outa here!"

“One more rep then I’m outa here!”

The two experimental groups had about 60 participants each, so it was a relatively small study. (In general, the larger the study, the more reliable the findings.) Most participants were white women; mean age was 69. The experimental intervention ran for five months. An excerpt:

In one trial, the participants were randomized to a structured resistance training program in which three sets of 10 repetitions of eight upper and lower body exercises were done 3 days each week at 70% of one repetition maximum for 5 weeks, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.
In the second study, participants were randomized to an aerobic program which was conducted for 30 minutes at 65% to 70% heart rate reserve 4 days per week, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.

The beneficial bone effect was seen at the hip but not the lumbar spine.

Thin old bones—i.e., osteoporotic ones—are prone to fractures. Maintaining or improving bone mineral density probably prevents age-related fractures. In a five-month small study like this, I wouldn’t expect the researchers to find any fracture rate reduction; that takes years. 

Most elders starting a weight-training program should work with a personal trainer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Improved Strength and Muscle Size in Elderly

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel

Admittedly it was a small study but it was randomized and the only intervention applied was for the experimental group to take 1.86 grams of EPA and 1.5 grams of DHA daily for six months. The control group was given corn oil. Study participants were 60–85 years old. The specific form of the fish-derived fatty acids was a proprietary product called Lovaza.

Improved strength during aging should help with maintenance of independent daily activities and prevention of falls. In other words, these fatty acids are anti-aging. I’d like to see the study replicated with more study participants.

I don’t know if the study was paid for by Lovaza’s manufacturer, nor whether that would influence results.

This study supports my recommendation of cold-water fatty fish (great sources of omega-3 fatty acids) in all my diets:

Steve Parker, M.D.


Exercise Cuts Fall Risk by a Third

…in the elderly, according to an article at MedPageToday. (I thought we already knew that.) Add this to your list of reasons to exercise. Successful aging is a war against gravity.

Tai Chi was the exercise in two of the trials, but the rest consisted of gait, balance, and functional training for activities performed in daily life. Most trials also included strength/resistance training exercises.


All the exercises that proved to be effective for fall prevention emphasized balance training, which the researchers said is “ample evidence that this type of program improves balance ability.”

Exercise reduces the risk of fractures by about 40%.

Click for the original research report, a meta-analysis.