Machine training good for the elderly

New research out of the US has found that training with machines can promote significant improvements in the functional capacity of elderly people.

The study, published in the journal Experimental Gerontology, compared two groups of elderly people (65 years or older): one that did seated machine exercises, such as a Hammer Strength leg press, and another that did standing cable exercises, such as a Life Fitness cable pushdown. Using a tool called the Physical Performance Battery (PPB), researchers measured how the subjects performed in particular physical tests, which include four-metre walk, chair stands and balance stands, where the feet are held in different positions for 10 seconds each. The researchers were also interested in both the upper and lower body strength and power of the subjects.

After 12-weeks on the training program, the results showed that there was no significant difference between seated machine and cable exercises. However, the study concluded that both training conditions were effective in improving the physical function of the elderly subjects.

Studies such as this show that, no matter how you choose to do it, it’s important for the elderly — as well as the young — to exercise for physical wellbeing.

Balachandran, A., et al. (2016.) ‘Functional strength training: Seated machine vs standing cable training to improve physical function in elderly.’ Exp Gerontol. 2016 Jun 25. pii: S0531-5565(16)30173-5. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2016.06.012.

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