Article by the Drummond Team

New research  from the  University of Dublin suggests older people benefit hugely from resistance exercises – working their muscles, even drinking protein shakes.  So, where should we start?  The research looked into methods of frailty interventions for the elderly in the UK by assessing their muscle strength training and protein supplementation. Both were consistently placed highest for effectiveness and ease of implementation amongst older patients, and best for improved frailty. “A combination of muscle strength training and protein supplementation was the most effective intervention to delay or reverse frailty,” the study says. The World Health Organisation’s Physical Activity Guidelines for adults recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity, plus two days of muscle-strengthening activities each week. While most people think of strength-based exercise as pumping iron at the gym, the reality is you can do strength-based exercise for free, any time, anywhere.

Twenty to 25 minutes of activity, four days a week at home, with an emphasis on a high-protein diet, is ideal. 

Flexibility, circulation and movement are the things that deteriorate as you get older. Make an inventory of the core movements you can still make – bending down to touch your shins if you can’t reach your toes, putting your hands on your waist and bending from side to side – and practise them regularly. And most importantly, remember to keep the weights light!

Here’s three exercises to help get started:

1. Push up

Start on your knees facing the floor with your hands at shoulder-width, placed directly under the shoulders. You can either straighten your legs or stay on your knees. Slowly lower yourself to the ground until your chest is just above the ground, keeping. your elbows slightly tucked in. Return to the starting position by fully extending your arms, and repeat.

2. Sit up

Lie on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet about hip-distance apart. Place your hands on the back of your head. Point your elbows to the sides of the room. Lift up your torso as high as you can without putting any strain on your back or neck. Return to the start position and repeat.

3. Split squat

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Next, take a step forward with your right foot, and a step backwards with your left foot. Keep the front heel flat and descend into a lunge, bringing your back knee towards the floor. Stop just short of the knee touching the ground on the back leg with the front heel still flat on the ground. Pause for one second and return to standing. Repeat a few times then change legs.

Anyone, any age, can get fitter!

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