Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Strength Training Is Good for Seniors

Study Shows Progressive Resistance Training Improves Daily Activities
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 8, 2009 -- Senior citizens, you may want to consider hitting the weight room.

A new review, which compiles data from more than 100 clinical trials, concludes that progressive resistance training can help older people in daily activities, such as climbing stairs and fixing dinner.

The study, published in the Cochrane Library, examined 121 trials with a total of 6,700 older participants. In most of the studies, progressive resistance training, or PRT, was performed two to three times a week at a high intensity.

PRT can be done with free weights, exercise machines, or elastic bands. The key is that the resistance, or level of difficulty, increase as the person gets stronger.

This kind of exercise can be particularly useful for seniors because people generally lose muscle strength as they age.

The review concluded that PRT produced a large improvement in muscle strength, a moderate to large improvement in doing simple activities such as getting up from a chair or climbing stairs, and a small but statistically significant improvement in doing complex daily activities, such as bathing or preparing a meal. After PRT, people had less pain from osteoarthritis.

"Older adults seem to benefit from this type of exercise even at the age of 80, and even with some type of health condition," researcher Chiung-ju Liu of the department of occupational therapy at Indiana University in Indianapolis says in a news release. "The data support the idea that muscle strength is largely improved after the training, and the impact on older adults' daily activities can be significant. Simply having enough strength to do things such as carrying groceries would make a difference for seniors."

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing