Why Strength Training is Important for Seniors

The benefits of flywheel training are widely known within performance sports, but its benefits to the senior population are still less so. Even the advantages of general strength training for older adults are not widely understood. Exxentric co-founder Mårten Fredriksson hopes to see more seniors, like his mother, gaining the benefits of strength training and the kBox.

seniorsThere is extensive scientific support for strength training in older populations, with benefits that are easily accessible using flywheel training on the kBox.

In studies where older adults have participated in progressive resistance training programs, significant improvements have been shown regarding muscle strength, muscle mass, bone mineral density and functional capabilities such as mobility.

For older adults, such improvements enhance exercise performance and decrease the risk for injuries while making daily life activities more enjoyable.

Even the most highly trained athletes experience a decline in strength performance after age 30. In general, strength ability has been shown to decline with age at a rate of approximately 1 to 1.5% per year until approximately age 70, after which a more dramatic decrease occurs. Other research suggests that for ordinary people without a history of active strength training, strength and muscle mass will begin to decline at around age 45, with a loss of about 6% of muscle mass per decade. In both cases, the loss is accelerated once a person turns 70 or if a person is not physically active.

The loss of strength, muscle and bone mass with age not only makes activities of daily life such as getting out of a chair or opening a window more difficult but also increases the risk of falling, hip fractures and long-term disability.

The muscle atrophy with aging appears to be a result from both physical inactivity and a gradual and selective denervation of muscle fibres, most notably the Type 2 (fast-twitch) fibers. The reduction in the size and/or number of muscle fibers, especially Type 2 fibers, also leads to a decrease in the ability of a muscle to generate power (i.e., exert force rapidly). Since everyday activities require a certain degree of power development, a decrease in the ability of muscles to produce force rapidly may adversely affect the ability of older adults to safely perform activities such as ”everyday” stairs climbing and walking.

For men and women aged 87 to 96 years it has been shown that they get improvements in gait speed, stairclimbing power, balance and overall spontaneous activities occurred after just eight weeks of strength training.

Encouragingly, the trainability of strength for seniors/older adults have shown to be similar to or greater than for younger individuals. The importance of gains in strength is through the intensity.

In this context the kBox is a very suitable tool because of the variable resistance that flywheel training offers. The kBox is a multi-exercise device that is highly portable so the seniors can implement their strength training easily at home so they do not need to commute to a regular gym.

Personally, I have had a great experience over the years coaching my mother, now over 80 years old. It has been rewarding to discuss training, strength training, flywheel training and the kBox with her, a former physiotherapist who is suffering of a neuromuscular disease (muscle wasting leading to loss of balance and muscle mass). We have so many times appreciated the superior practical benefits that the kBox is offering beyond the machines and weights common in regular gyms and retirement homes.

To learn more, you can always visit our page about the kBox applications for seniors. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Mårten Fredriksson

/Mårten Fredriksson, Co-Founder

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