There is increasing research evidence for the efficacy of resistance training programs for improving health and functional status in older adults. Resistance training has been shown to be an effective method to avoid age related losses in skeletal muscle tissue. Resistance training appears to be a potential solution for prevention purposes by inducing increases in strength, power and muscle cross sectional area, in addition to moderately improving endurance. There are also improvements in some aspects of functional status such as walking speed. Further research is required to determine the efficacy of resistance exercise for fall prevention. It does appear that muscular power and rate of force development are important indicators of health and functional status in older adults. Therefore resistance training programs should incorporate some of these aspects into the program design. Resistance training also provides an alternative method of rehabilitation for various disease states such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. It now appears that resistance training is a critical component of exercise programs designed to improve health in older populations and should receive similar emphasis to aerobic activities such as walking.
2006 Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences