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Physical Therapist assisting older adult with strength exercises for shoulders.

People often link aging with physical decline. "On average, the strength of people in their 80s is about 40% less than that of people in their 20s.” But research suggests that improvements in physical function are possible well into older adulthood.

A 2009 review of 121 trials (“Progressive resistance strength training for improving physical function in older adults” – July 2009) found good news.  The study looked at date from including 6,700 people with an average age of 60 or over.  Researchers found that progressive resistance strength training was improves physical function in older adults including:

  • Physical disability.
  • Some functional limitations (such as balance, gait speed, timed walk, timed "up-and-go," chair raise, and climbing stairs).
  • Muscle weakness.

Sarcopenia, a decrease in the amount and quality of muscle, is a major factor that leads to frailty. It can be prevented or treated with the right physical activity.

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