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Technology and health care for the elderly medical research studies

Focus on strategic priorities that have significant social impact.

CAT 2015-19

An ounce of prevention: intensive resistance training to optimize health in pre-frail older adults

It is anticipated that this new strength training program can help prevent future frailty. Furthermore, the results from this study will also help develop future research to examine if higher-intensity strength programs can be used with frail elderly Canadians to improve their health and function, reduce the need for institutionalized care and lower healthcare costs.

Possible Research Results

Anticipated findingsResults from this study will impact how health and fitness professionals deliver services for seniors. Fitness guidelines for older adults typically recommend lower-intensity exercise. Results from this study may challenge our beliefs in what older adults can achieve through higher-intensity training to help update exercise guidelines.

Impact of findingsThis study will not only help us understand how to prevent frailty, but also how to identify people who will benefit from this program. Strength training, even at higher intensities, can be effective for older adults showing early signs of frailty to improve their health and function, and help them live longer independently at home. Since people showing early signs of frailty may not seek medical attention, we need to find ways to reach them through community programs, seniors groups, and retirement communities. Community exercise programs can help pre-frail older adults improve their health and mobility, which lowers the need for hospital care and reduces healthcare costs.

About the Project

Our population is aging, and while many older Canadians live healthy and active lifestyles, many others grow weaker, move slower and become less and less active over time. These are signs of frailty, which can lead to difficulty with everyday tasks, higher risk for falls and fractures, or need for institutionalized care or hospitalizations. One way to prevent frailty in older adults is to participate in regular exercise. In particular, strengthening exercises can improve muscle strength and bone strength, walking ability and balance, which contribute to better health and function.

We aim to test the safety and feasibility of a new, higher-intensity strength training program in pre-frail older adults. Higher-intensity training has led to greater improvements in strength in athletes and younger adults, but has not yet been studied in older adults. We will also compare the impact of this higher-intensity program on walking ability, muscle and bone health, quality of life and health care usage to a more traditional lower-intensity program that is typically used with older adults.

For more details on the project rationale, hypothesis, objectives and research plan, click here.

Project Team

Principal Investigators:

Ada Tang, PT, PhD, MSc -- McMaster University

Christopher Gordon, PhD -- McMaster University

Feng Xie, PhD, MSc -- McMaster University

Co-Investigators:

Jonathan Adachi, MD, FRCPC -- McMaster University

Norma MacIntyre, PT, PhD -- McMaster University

Stuart Phillips, PhD -- McMaster University

Julie Richardson, PT, PhD -- McMaster University

Knowledge Users and Partners:

Bonnie Campbell, Trainer -- Crossfit Indestri

Alex Cibiri, Trainer -- Element Crossfit

Stephanie McKean, Trainer -- Crossfit Indestri

Project Contact: Ada Tang -- atang@mcmaster.ca

CAT 2015-19