News ID: 235235
Published: 1153 GMT December 04, 2018

Elderly people should try weightlifting and protein powders to fight frailty

Elderly people should try weightlifting and protein powders to fight frailty
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For most pensioners, retirement is the time to take the weight off one's shoulders.

But health experts could end that small joy by suggesting OAPs should take weightlifting classes, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Increases in life expectancy have led to a surge in the number of frail elderly people.

One in 10 pensioners suffer from infirmity, rising to half of the over-80s.

And researchers from University College Dublin found prescribing a mix of muscle strength training and protein powders is the best way to fight frailty.

A report published in the British Journal of General Practice conducted a review of 46 studies on frailty interventions involving 15,690 people.

The easiest and most successful treatments involved weightlifting – a pastime more associated with vain twentysomethings and bodybuilders.

The study's authors said GPs should prescribe 20-25 minutes of exercises four days a week at home.

These are made up of 15 workouts to strengthen the arms and legs – as well as improving balance and co-ordination.

Diet also plays a key part in staying strong over the age of 70. Scientists advised eggs, milk, tuna and chicken should be on a pensioner's menu as they are high in protein.

However, they also said a protein powder drink should be added to help keep limbs and joints supple.

Lifting weights is also healthier for the heart than running or walking, according to separate research.

Scientists at St George's University, Grenada, reviewed the health records of more than 4,000 people.

The report, released last month, found static activities such as weightlifting are more effective than cardiovascular pursuits.

Professor Dr. Maia Smith, who led the research at St George's University, Grenada, said: 'Both strength training and aerobic activity appeared to be heart healthy, even in small amounts, at the population level.

'Clinicians should counsel patients to exercise regardless – both activity types were beneficial.

'However, static activity appeared more beneficial than dynamic, and patients who did both types of physical activity fared better than patients who simply increased the level of one type of activity.'

But there is a marked gender difference in how the elderly like to exercise.

Researcher Line Skarsem Retlo said men tend to train with greater intensity, enjoying pursuits such as jogging and cycling.

However, women were more likely to choose walking as keep-fit activities.

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