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Even people in their 90s can benefit from endurance training

Even people in their 90s can benefit from endurance training
21st January 2014

Regular strength and endurance training can be beneficial to people in their 90s, it has been claimed.

A new study from the University of Navarra in Spain tested a group of 24 peopled aged between 91 and 96 and found that after 12 weeks a significant number had seen their wellbeing improved.

Sports activities are increasing in popularity among the elderly, with 237 people over the age of 70 taking part in last year's London marathon.

This study, which was published in the Age journal, split the participants into two groups.

One group of 11 took part in vigorous strength and balance training twice each week, while the remainder did just 30 minutes of light mobility training before their fitness levels were compared.

The first group were found to have significantly improved their walking speed, flexibility and muscle mass, making day-to-day tasks much easier.

This group were also found to be less susceptible to falls.

Study leader Mikel Izquierdo said a lack of mobility in old age can cause muscle loss and make the person more fragile.

"In addition to the significant increases in the physical capacity of frail elderly people, the study has shown that power training can be perfectly applied to the elderly with frailty," he said.

"From a practical point of view, the results of the study point to the importance of implementing exercise programmes in patients of this type, exercises to develop muscle power, balance and walking."

He added that applying exercise regimes can be an effective way of helping people cope with the "impact of ageing" and help them to adapt better changes in living circumstances.

A study conducted by University College London last year found that older people who regularly exercise also benefit from improved mental as well as physical health.

The Cochrane Collaboration, a project which reviewed medical trials in care homes, also found that people living with dementia enjoyed a wellbeing boost from exercise.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.