Progressive resistance strength training for improving physical function in older adults.

Liu CJ, Latham NK

The object of this review was to assess the effects of PRT on older people and identify adverse events. One hundred and twenty one trials with 6700 participants were included. In most trials, PRT was performed two to three times per week and at a high intensity. PRT resulted in a small but significant improvement in physical ability. Functional limitation measures also showed improvements. PRT had a large positive effect on muscle strength. Participants with osteoarthritis reported a reduction in pain following PRT. There was no evidence from 10 other trials that PRT had an effect on bodily pain. Adverse events were poorly recorded but adverse events related to musculoskeletal complaints, such as joint pain and muscle soreness, were reported in many of the studies that prospectively defined and monitored these events. Serious adverse events were rare, and no serious events were reported to be directly related to the exercise programme.

This review provides evidence that PRT is an effective intervention for improving physical functioning in older people, including improving strength and the performance of some simple and complex activities. However, some caution is needed with transferring these exercises for use with clinical populations because adverse events are not adequately reported.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(3):CD002759

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