Seniors ‘muscle up’ for health benefits

6 February 2018

A two-year physical exercise program for senior citizens in Brisbane has resulted in improved health and fitness for at-risk older people.

More than 200 Brisbane adults aged 65-92 benefited from the joint Burnie Brae Centre and University of Queensland study, which aimed to boost strength and balance.

The ‘Muscling Up Against Disability’ study found, on average, the 245 participants more than doubled their upper and lower body and core strength during the 24-week program.

The participants were all receiving in-home Commonwealth aged care support and received two sessions each week with exercise physiologists.

UQ’s Centre for Health Services Research’s Dr Paul Gardiner said participants also recorded reduced depression and anxiety as a result of the study.

“This project has shown that older people can not only improve their overall fitness, but also stave off disability, prevent falls and remain living independently in their own homes for longer,” he said.

The study results also indicated a steady reduction in participants’ overall health care costs.

Participants took part in Progressive Resistance plus Balance Training (PRBT) exercises, which were tailored to their individual needs and included weight training, balance and agility.

Other partners on the project were Bond University, AgeFit Solutions and St Vincent’s Health Australia, with fitness equipment provided by HUR Australia. The $1.4 million study was funded by the Federal Government and ran from 2015-17.