The Ultimate Science-Based Resistance Training Routine for Older Adults – HITUNI

There’s a new study out by James Steele et al. regarding more successfully-adhered to training protocols for older adults.  “Our hope is that discussion of these specific recommendations, and provision of an example minimal dose workout, will promote resistance training participation by persons who might otherwise have not engaged. We also encourage medical professionals to use this information to prescribe resistance exercise like a drug whilst having an awareness of the health benefits and uncomplicated methods.”

These are the same protocols that I use today at Crescent City Strength.  For me, it’s same as it ever was, going back to 1986 when I was a Nautilus HIT trainer.  Research keeps opening our eyes to more and more benefits of HIT training, but the protocol has not significantly changed since Arthur Jones described it a half a century ago.

As usual, HITUNI does a breakdown better than I ever could, so I’m going to do the lazy (or smart?) thing and link their article with an excerpt.  I hope you click through and read the whole thing, then call me if you want to get set up.

FYI, I have nothing to do with HITUNI, other recommending the site to anyone who wants to learn more about High Intensity Training.  With so much exercise mis-information out there, especially about HIT, they are the REAL DEAL.

The Ultimate Science-Based Resistance Training Routine for Older Adults

On 28th September 2017, a mini review into resistance training for older adults was published in Experimental Gerontology titled “A minimal dose approach to resistance training for the older adult; the prophylactic for aging”.

This is a very exciting piece of research, thrilling for the simplicity and practicality of its conclusions and recommendations. It is the kind of paper that I want to beam into the hands of every individual over the age of 60 and every health influencer of that age group too. Scratch that, if all other resistance training research on earth was somehow decimated and just this document was left to become the blueprint from which all adults of any age begin their resistance training journey, the world of exercise would be a better place. No hype, no marketing b.s., no unnecessary complexity- just simple, safe and beneficial greatness.

Continued here.


An hour per week at the gym lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome — ScienceDaily

time to workoutLess than one hour of resistance exercise training per week lowers the risk of developing metabolic syndrome (cardiovascular risk factors such as overweight, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar). This was shown by a study involving more than 7,000 participants from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS) in the USA. The beneficial effects of resistance exercise were independent from the amount of aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling. An international team of researchers, led by Esmée Bakker of Radboudumc published these findings on June 13 on the website of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Continued at Source: An hour per week at the gym lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome — ScienceDaily

Why intensity is not a bad word: Optimizing health status at any age.

Author information


Age-related declines in health and function make locomotion increasingly difficult leading to reductions in non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), skeletal muscle size and strength, and increased adiposity. Exercise is an important strategy to attenuate loss of function through the life cycle. Despite claims to the contrary, high-intensity exercise is important for the prevention of obesity and sarcopenia with advancing age. Therefore, the purpose of this mini-review is to present literature supporting the contention that low volume, high-intensity aerobic and/or resistance training can slow sarcopenia, sustain ease of movement, stimulate NEAT, and attenuate the accretion of fat mass.


Energy expenditure; Exercise economy; High-intensity exercise; Physical activity; Resistance training; Sarcopenia

How eating less can slow the aging process


Date:February 13, 2017
Source:Brigham Young University
Summary:New research shows why calorie restriction made mice live longer and healthier lives.

“When you restrict calorie consumption, there’s almost a linear increase in lifespan,” Price said.
Credit: © Steven R Breininger / Fotolia

There’s a multi-billion-dollar industry devoted to products that fight signs of aging, but moisturizers only go skin deep. Aging occurs deeper — at a cellular level — and scientists have found that eating less can slow this cellular process.

Recent research published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics offers one glimpse into how cutting calories impacts aging inside a cell. The researchers found that when ribosomes — the cell’s protein makers — slow down, the aging process slows too. The decreased speed lowers production but gives ribosomes extra time to repair themselves.

“The ribosome is a very complex machine, sort of like your car, and it periodically needs maintenance to replace the parts that wear out the fastest,” said Brigham Young University biochemistry professor and senior author John Price. “When tires wear out, you don’t throw the whole car away and buy new ones. It’s cheaper to replace the tires.”

So what causes ribosome production to slow down in the first place? At least for mice: reduced calorie consumption.

Price and his fellow researchers observed two groups of mice. One group had unlimited access to food while the other was restricted to consume 35 percent fewer calories, though still receiving all the necessary nutrients for survival.

“When you restrict calorie consumption, there’s almost a linear increase in lifespan,” Price said. “We inferred that the restriction caused real biochemical changes that slowed down the rate of aging.”

Price’s team isn’t the first to make the connection between cut calories and lifespan, but they were the first to show that general protein synthesis slows down and to recognize the ribosome’s role in facilitating those youth-extending biochemical changes.

“The calorie-restricted mice are more energetic and suffered fewer diseases,” Price said. “And it’s not just that they’re living longer, but because they’re better at maintaining their bodies, they’re younger for longer as well.”

Ribosomes, like cars, are expensive and important — they use 10-20 percent of the cell’s total energy to build all the proteins necessary for the cell to operate. Because of this, it’s impractical to destroy an entire ribosome when it starts to malfunction. But repairing individual parts of the ribosome on a regular basis enables ribosomes to continue producing high-quality proteins for longer than they would otherwise. This top-quality production in turn keeps cells and the entire body functioning well.

Despite this study’s observed connection between consuming fewer calories and improved lifespan, Price assured that people shouldn’t start counting calories and expect to stay forever young. Calorie restriction has not been tested in humans as an anti-aging strategy, and the essential message is understanding the importance of taking care of our bodies.

“Food isn’t just material to be burned — it’s a signal that tells our body and cells how to respond,” Price said. “We’re getting down to the mechanisms of aging, which may help us make more educated decisions about what we eat.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew D. Mathis, Bradley C. Naylor, Richard H. Carson, Eric Evans, Justin Harwell, Jared Knecht, Eric Hexem, Fredrick F. Peelor, Benjamin F. Miller, Karyn L. Hamilton, Mark K. Transtrum, Benjamin T. Bikman, John C. Price. Mechanisms of In Vivo Ribosome Maintenance Change in Response to Nutrient Signals. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 2017; 16 (2): 243 DOI: 10.1074/mcp.M116.063255

Middle-Age Fitness Helps Ward Off Stroke Later: MedlinePlus

Study finds this one thing reduces risk by 37 percent

Thursday, June 9, 2016:  Physical fitness in middle age may lower your risk of stroke after 65, a new study finds.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that healthy mid-life behaviors pay off as we age, and lower our risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke,” said Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He was not involved in the study.

Among nearly 20,000 adults in their mid to late 40s, researchers found the most fit had a 37 percent lower risk of having a stroke after 65, compared with the least fit.

The protective effect of fitness remained even after the researchers accounted for risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.

“Incorporating exercise and regular physical activity in one’s day-to-day routine is important to improve fitness and lower risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in older age,” said lead researcher Dr. Ambarish Pandey. He is a cardiology fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Continued at: Middle-Age Fitness Helps Ward Off Stroke Later: MedlinePlus

Strength training helps older adults live longer — ScienceDaily

ScienceDaily.comSenior Woman In Gym
Date:  April 20, 2016
Source:  Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Older adults who met twice-weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying, a new analysis concludes. The study is the first to demonstrate the association in a large, nationally representative sample over an extended time period, particularly in an older population.

Full Story

Older adults who met twice-weekly strength training guidelines had lower odds of dying in a new analysis by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Columbia University. The study is the first to demonstrate the association in a large, nationally representative sample over an extended time period, particularly in an older population.

Many studies have previously found that older adults who are physically active have better quality of life and a lower risk of mortality. Regular exercise is associated with health benefits, including preventing early death, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.

But although the health rewards of physical activity and aerobic exercise are well established, less data has been collected on strength training.

Over the past decade, researchers have begun to demonstrate benefits of strength training on strength, muscle mass and physical function, as well as improvements in chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain and obesity. Small studies have observed that greater amounts of muscle strength are associated with lower risks of death.

Read more at Strength training helps older adults live longer — ScienceDaily

Weight-lifting and jumping exercises improved bone density, could decrease osteoporosis risk

The bone mass of the whole body, lumbar spine and hip bone significantly increased among men who completed six months of a weight-lifting program. Credit: Vernon Cunningham, US Air Force. This image or file is a work of a US Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the US federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

The bone mass of the whole body, lumbar spine and hip bone significantly increased among men who completed six months of a weight-lifting program.
Credit: Vernon Cunningham, US Air Force. This image or file is a work of a US Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the US federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

Men gradually lose bone mass as they age, which puts them at risk for developing osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones weak and prone to breakage. Nearly 2 million men in the U.S. have the condition, and 16 million more have low bone mass, studies have shown. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that certain types of weight-lifting and jumping exercises, when completed for at least six months, improve bone density in active, healthy, middle-aged men with low bone mass. These exercises may help prevent osteoporosis by facilitating bone growth, according to the study published in Bone.

“Weight-lifting programs exist to increase muscular strength, but less research has examined what happens to bones during these types of exercises,” said Pam Hinton, an associate professor and the director of nutritional sciences graduate studies in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. “Our study is the first to show that exercise-based interventions work to increase bone density in middle-aged men with low bone mass who are otherwise healthy. These exercises could be prescribed to reverse bone loss associated with aging.”

Hinton and MU colleagues Peggy Nigh and John Thyfault studied 38 physically active, middle-aged men who completed either a weight-lifting program or a jumping program for a year. Both programs required participants to complete 60-120 minutes of targeted exercises each week. The participants took calcium and vitamin D supplements throughout their training programs. The researchers measured the men’s bone mass at the beginning of the study and again at six and 12 months using specialized X-ray scans of the whole body, hip and lumbar spine.

The researchers found the bone mass of the whole body and lumbar spine significantly increased after six months of completing the weight-lifting or jumping programs, and this increase was maintained at 12 months. Hip-bone density only increased among those who completed the weight-lifting program.

Hinton said the study results do not indicate that all kinds of weight lifting will help improve bone mass; rather, targeted exercises made the training programs effective.

“Only the bone experiencing the mechanical load is going to get stronger, so we specifically chose exercises that would load the hip and the spine, which is why we had participants do squats, deadlifts, lunges and the overhead press,” Hinton said. “Also, the intensity of the loading needs to increase over time to build strength. Both of the training programs gradually increased in intensity, and our participants also had rest weeks. Bones need to rest to continue to maximize the response.”

Throughout their training programs, participants rated pain and fatigue after completing their exercises. The participants reported minimal pain and fatigue, and these ratings decreased over the year. Hinton said individuals who want to use similar training programs to improve bone density should consider their current activity levels and exercise preferences as well as time and equipment constraints.

“Individuals don’t typically have to know they have heart disease, high blood pressure or prediabetes to start exercising — they do it as prevention,” Hinton said. “Similarly, individuals don’t have to know they have osteoporosis to start lifting weights. The interventions we studied are effective, safe and take 60-120 minutes per week to complete, which is feasible for most people. Also, the exercises can be done at home and require minimal exercise equipment, which adds to the ease of implementing and continuing these interventions.”

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Pamela S. Hinton, Peggy Nigh, John Thyfault. Effectiveness of resistance training or jumping-exercise to increase bone mineral density in men with low bone mass: A 12-month randomized, clinical trial. Bone, 2015; 79: 203 DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.06.008

Strength training still advisable in older age

Fit women 8.2via
Date: April 3, 2015
Source:  Medical University of Vienna
Many over-65-year-olds are frail, or in a preliminary stage of frailty. A new study aims to raise fitness levels and quality of life for older people whose nutritional condition is inadequate. The first results show that regular strength training is particularly beneficial for increasing hand strength, and thus enabling people to live independently, says a researcher.

“Because aging is associated with sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, relying on body weight alone is insufficient for the study of healthy aging,” said lead author Rania Mekary, a researcher in HSPH’s Department of Nutrition.
“I often get potential clients questioning whether resistance training might be appropriate for folks getting up in years.  The answer is a resounding YES!  Not only appropriate, but almost a MUST.”

10 Reasons High Intensity Training is a Smarter Workout


Old arthritic fart doing squats

You’ve probably heard of high intensity training, but more than likely are fuzzy on the details.  High intensity training (“HIT”) refers to performing a single set of 8-12 repetitions of slow controlled weight resisted exercises, to momentary muscular failure, at a repetition duration that maintains muscular tension throughout the entire range of motion, for most major muscle groups once or twice each week.

So what makes HIT so great, and why would I want to do it?  Below I’ve outlined 10 great reasons I train with HIT.

  1. Primum non nocere).  First do no harm.  Though it’s the Hippocratic oath of physicians, it should be an oath for personal trainers and trainees alike.  If you are exercising for health, the first thing you might try is to minimize the inherent risk of exercise. I just don’t get “training like an athlete,” as it’s not unheard of for “healthy” athletes to die on the  field!  Athletes sacrifice their bodies at the alter of winning and often end up crippled or otherwise damaged later in life.  That’s not exactly what I’m going for.  HIT’s low number of slow, controlled reps is a more demandingto muscle tissue while being very easily tolerated by joints.  That’s more like it.  Construction, not destruction.
  2. HIT is actually good for your joints.
  3. HIT saves me time in the gym.  As the name says, HIT is high intensity.  The higher the intensity, the less time it takes to do the same amount or even more work (think sprinting a 100 yard dash over jogging it).  So HIT is done less frequently and for less time. For me, it’s 20 minutes once a week and I’m done. Boom.
  4. It’s physical training and mindfulness training all in one.  After years of doing Kundalini Yoga, I brought my meditation into the gym.  HIT is a perfect “asana” for cultivating concentration and awareness, and mindfulness helps me get the most out of any exercise.  It’s a “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter” combination.
  5. HIT increases cardiovascular ability better than “cardio.”  No really, it does.  What do you think creates the demand for all that breathing in “cardio”?  Do you really think it’s the uncontrolled flailing of limbs?  Nope.  It’s muscular work.  True dat.
  6. The most important component of exercise that actually stimulates change is effortEr … in another word:  intensity.
  7. It’s better for building bone density.  I’m a skinny fair-skinned fifty year old.  When I fell and broke my wrist a couple of years ago, instead of the predicted  8-12 weeks in a cast followed by more weeks of physical therapy, I shocked my doctor by getting my cast off in 6 weeks and requiring no PT.  In fact, he told me essentially to keep doing whatever I was doing because PT couldn’t do a better job.  Ain’t no marathoner going to make that claim.


    Old broad doing pushups post broken wrist

  8. HIT is better for getting rid of belly fat.
  9. HIT makes you strong.  REALLY strong.  Like lift-the-whole-stack-on-squats strong.  Do you know what is the number one reason people get carted off to old folks homes? They’re not strong enough to stand on their own and their families can no longer lift them to put them on the potty chair.  So think about that for a minute.
  10. Getting through your weekly HIT session prepares you mentally and physically for whatever stressor you may encounter in the week.  All exercise helps protect against the effects of stress, but for me, HIT gives me a confidence and resiliency I’ve never experienced with any other type of training.

I’ve been training with high intensity training for almost 30 years.  In fact, October 10, 2016 will be my 30 year anniversary.  I’ve never written that date down anywhere, but I always remember it. It’s been that important to me.

Healthy eating, exercise, and brain-training program results in slower mental decline for older people

Date:  March 11, 2015
Source:  The Lancet

A comprehensive program providing older people at risk of dementia with healthy eating guidance, exercise, brain training, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors appears to slow down cognitive decline, according to the first ever randomised controlled trial of its kind, published in The Lancet.

In the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study, researchers led by Professor Miia Kivipelto from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland, assessed the effects on brain function of a comprehensive intervention aimed at addressing some of the most important risk factors for age-related dementia, such as high body-mass index and heart health.

1260 people from across Finland, aged 60-77 years, were included in the study, with half randomly allocated to the intervention group, and half allocated to a control group, who received regular health advice only. All of the study participants were deemed to be at risk of dementia, based on standardised test scores.

The intensive intervention consisted of regular meetings over two years with physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, with participants given comprehensive advice on maintaining a healthy diet, exercise programs including both muscle and cardiovascular training, brain training exercises, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors through regular blood tests, and other means.

After two years, study participants’ mental function was scored using a standard test, the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB), where a higher score corresponds to better mental functioning. Overall test scores in the intervention group were 25% higher than in the control group. For some parts of the test, the difference between groups was even more striking — for executive functioning (the brain’s ability to organise and regulate thought processes) scores were 83% higher in the intervention group, and processing speed was 150% higher. Based on a pre-specified analysis, the intervention appeared to have no effect on patients’ memory. However, based on post-hoc analyses, there was a difference in memory scores between the intervention and control groups.

According to Professor Kivipelto, “Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive program aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.”

The study participants will now be followed for at least seven years to determine whether the diminished cognitive decline seen in this trial is followed by reduced levels of dementia and Alzheimer’s diagnoses. The researchers will also be investigating possible mechanisms whereby the intervention might affect brain function.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Lancet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Tiia Ngandu, Jenni Lehtisalo, Alina Solomon, Esko Levälahti, Satu Ahtiluoto, Riitta Antikainen, Lars Bäckman, Tuomo Hänninen, Antti Jula, Tiina Laatikainen, Jaana Lindström, Francesca Mangialasche, Teemu Paajanen, Satu Pajala, Markku Peltonen, Rainer Rauramaa, Anna Stigsdotter-Neely, Timo Strandberg, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Hilkka Soininen, Miia Kivipelto. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60461-5

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