A rolling stone gathers no moss – why strength training keeps healthy until old age


Most people drasticly reduce their sports activities at latest in their forties. Reasons are plenty, even if it is just one's weaker self that gains the upper hand. To keep a self-determined living as long as possible and to make use of the positive effects of training one can get lots of inspiration at REHACARE 2015.

At least 90 exhibitors present equipment and aids for active and passive mobility and muscle training. Especially hall 3 with its focus on sports, games, leisure and physiotherapy provides a lot of suggestions for a healthy exercise. And who thinks that is not enough can visit the Sports Center in hall 7a and try out some sport activities for himself.

Photo: Elderly man training

Peter Beutel by Beri Sport Med shows his training devices at REHACARE 2015; © beta-web/Schmitz

The bodily loss in strength cannot be prevented completely, but the process can be slowed down. And that is the most important there is to know. With advancing age the strength and capability of the body declines. Not only the muscle volume but also the number of muscle fibres decrease. The metabolism changes and the neuromuscular functioning is reduced. Degeneration of the muscles, less strength, problems with support and motion apparatus, disturbances of equilibrium and in last consequence the loss of autonomy is the result of that process. Beginning at sixth or seventh decade of life the bodily strength reduces about 15 percent a year and that process is accelerated compared to the previous decades. Without training the probability is high to lose up to 50 percent of muscle volume until the age of 80.

Now the good news: The loss of strength can be compensated up to a certain level. Several studies show that health oriented strength training can protect the muscular-skeletal system, improve the mobility up to a high age and prevent equilibrium disturbances and deteriorative diseases. Strength training can even influence bone density and bone mineralization. Especially with regard to the osteoporosis risk in older women this is a vital aspect. Also the effects on cardio health are considered scientifically proven by now. Even the insulin sensitivity of muscular cells in diabetics can increase through strength training. In Germany nowadays more and more fitness studios respond by providing certified strength training programs for diabetics.

Easily put, with the right training you can reach an positive impact on strength and health even being over a hundred years old. First results from the study "Gesund fürs Leben" (Healthy for Life), initiated by the University of Vienna, show that regular strength training significantly improves the body health and plays an essential role in keeping ones autonomy as long as possible.

Peter Beutel, owner of Beri Sport Med, develops since decades sports, training and therapy devices, that people can exercise with adjusted to their individual needs. He thinks that who can move, can exercise. And he thinks that age and bodily impairments play a minor role. Only the training devices should be as versatile and save as possible and should meet the special needs of its users. Certainly the medical check-up beforehand should be a given.

Photo: Mareike Scholze

© B. Frommann

Mareike Scholze