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Strength Training in Aged Care – Keeping our seniors fit

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Exercise is vital, and age should not be a limitation or barrier, especially in the case of older adults living in residential aged care facilities. Specifically, progressive resistance and strength training in aged care is extremely important. It helps to keep their bones strong, improves quality of life (both physically and mentally), improves self-esteem and as a result helps to preserve independence.

My research project aimed to make a change, to improve the physical and mental health of the residents via a 24-week progressive resistance and weight-bearing exercise program. Thus, improving their independence and quality of life. A key aspect was to ensure that the exercise program was feasible and sustainable to enable the continuation of exercise once the project was completed.

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Results – Strength Training in Aged Care

Significant improvements were found in residents’ independence factors (gait speed, hand-grip strength and sit to stand performance) and their mental well-being. We collected responses from a survey with the following captured from the questions:

  • “What was the best aspect of the exercise program”
  • “Everybody being in a group together”
  • “having the energy to do it
  • “being able to do something”
  • “getting out of my room”.

The exercise program was delivered in a cost-effective manner, one in which could be easily adopted by other aged care facilities with ease. All it took was a room, chairs, weights, exercise balls, an exercise instructor and a sprinkle of enthusiasm and excitement from the residents and staff within the aged care facilities.

More information about the research project can be found on this link: https://peerj.com/articles/6973/ 

However, this project only encapsulated 32% of the population in two aged care facilities and we are missing the other 68% of the population who may also benefit from an exercise program. We have a lot of work to do to ensure residents have the opportunity to participate and pump weights in exercise programs in aged care facilities.

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