Muscle strength is considered to be the most physiologically limiting factor of the older patient and a determinant of their functional status. The physiological benefits of exercise in general are well documented. Over the past five years research has shown that exercise, particularly strength training, is not only important, but necessary for successful aging.
The literature indicates that there are many deleterious changes in the muscloskeletal system during the normal process of aging.Investigations into the area of functional independence has shown strength training can mitigate or even reverse a spiraling decline in activities of daily living (ADLs), even among the frail elderly. Functional gains observed include improvements in gait, gait speed, balance, mobility tasks and a decrease in the risk of falling.
Traditional geriatric studies have emphasized the “Five I’s” that challenge the older patient (intellectual impairment, incontinence, immobility, instability and iatrogenic drug reactions). Strength training is a benefit to all five of the “Five I’s”.
With the aging of the Canadian population, it is expected that persons over the age of 65 will comprise at least 30% of a chiropractor’s patient portfolio. It therefore seems appropriate to inform the chiropractic profession of the importance as well as the necessity of strength training for the older patient.
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