Men and women aged over 50 can reap similar relative benefits from resistance training, a new study led by UNSW Sydney shows.
“Historically, people tended to believe that men adapted to a greater degree from resistance training compared to women.”“The differences we found primarily relate to how we look at the data – that is, absolutely or relatively. ‘Absolute’ looks at the overall gains, while ‘relative’ is a percentage based on their body size.”
The paper is the first systematic review and meta-analysis to examine whether older men and women reap different resistance training results. The findings add to past research on differences in younger adults (18-50), which suggested that men and women can achieve similar relative muscle size gains.
“We found no sex differences in changes in relative muscle size or upper body strength in older adults.”“It’s important for trainers to understand that women benefit just as much as men in terms of relative improvement compared to their baseline.”
Sex-specific workout tips
“Our study sheds light on the possibility that we should be programming differently for older men and women to maximise their training benefits.”
“Older men might benefit from higher intensity programs to improve their absolute upper and lower body strength.”“But older women might benefit from higher overall exercise volumes – that is, more weekly repetitions – to increase their relative and absolute lower body strength.”
“Changes to exercise regimes should be made safely and with professional consultation.”
“Strength training is very important and beneficial to our health – especially for older people.”“It can help prevent and treat many age-related chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
“Learning more about resistance training and its benefits could help improve overall health outcomes for Australia’s ageing population.”