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Robert Linkul: 7 Research Studies You Should Know If You Train Older Adults



Robert Linkul is the owner of TOA (Training the Older Adult), a personal training studio and continuing education provider for fitness professionals. Robert is an expert in resistance training strategies for the older adult population. This is the third podcast interview with Robert, and we delved into seven pivotal research studies that can benefit those working with older adults.


1. Resistance Training for Women and Osteoporosis

Resistance training is invaluable, especially for women aiming to combat osteoporosis. Robert highlighted a study showing that even heavy lifting, with loads around 70-85% of one-rep max, can significantly improve bone density, muscle mass, balance, and overall health. Fear of “getting bulky” is unwarranted—resistance training not only strengthens bones but also enhances lean muscle mass without excessive bulkiness.

Key takeaway: Women, especially those premenopausal, can immensely benefit from heavy resistance training. It can help prevent or alleviate osteoporosis, leading to better health outcomes and reduced fall risks.


2. Combating Depression with Exercise

A study on older adults revealed that integrating resistance training and cardiovascular activities significantly reduced symptoms of depression. Groups participating in an 8-month exercise regimen experienced enhanced mood, improved sleep, better cognitive function, and reduced medication reliance.

Key takeaway: Exercise serves as a powerful antidepressant with long-term benefits. Social support and group workouts further enhance these benefits, promoting a healthier, happier lifestyle.


3. The Effectiveness of Using Unstable Surfaces for Stability Training

Another study compared training on unstable surfaces versus stable ones. While both groups showed significant improvements, the major takeaway is focusing on foundational strength before progressing to unstable surfaces. For those participating in sports that require balance, incorporating unstable surface training can be beneficial.

Key takeaway: Build a strong foundation with stable surface training before incorporating unstable surface exercises for better balance and reduced fall risks.


4. Cognitive and Physical Benefits of Creatine

Creatine, a well-researched supplement, has shown to greatly benefit older adults. Participants over 50 saw improvements in cognitive function, memory recall, and physical recovery. While beneficial for all ages, the cognitive benefits are particularly pronounced in older adults.

Key takeaway: Creatine supplementation, starting with small doses like 1 gram per day, can support both cognitive and physical health, enhancing overall well-being.


5. Power Training for Better Functionality

Power training, involving lighter loads lifted explosively, showed promising results. Participants improved their overall strength, power, and reduced their injury risks compared to traditional strength training. This approach is particularly effective for fall prevention and maintaining functional independence.

Key takeaway: Incorporating power training can provide significant benefits for older adults, enhancing strength, power, and reducing the risk of falls.


6. The Benefits of Rucking (walking with weight)

Rucking, or walking with a weighted vest, can lead to improved bone density, muscle strength, and cardiovascular health. Particularly for women, premenopausal individuals saw significant gains in bone density around the hip area, reducing the risk of fractures. Key takeaway: Incorporate rucking into your routine to boost bone density and overall physical health. Using walking sticks can add an extra challenge and further improve muscle engagement.


7. Universal Benefits of Resistance Training

The impact of resistance training is universal, benefiting all age groups from youth to older adults. It enhances muscle mass, strength, and overall longevity. The principles of progressive overload and specific adaptations apply to everyone, regardless of age.

Key takeaway: Resistance training should be a lifelong practice, adaptable to the varying needs and limitations of individuals as they age.


Conclusion: Collectively, these seven research studies underline the importance of resistance training and thoughtful exercise programming for older adults. These strategies are actionable and applicable to help improve health outcomes, regardless of age.


Connect with Robert Linkul through Training the Older Adult, both on Instagram and at [trainingtheolderadult.com](https://www.trainingtheolderadult.com).


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