An anti-inflammatory lifestyle protects against cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and slows aging, we wrote earlier. A lifestyle that lowers the concentration of inflammatory factors in the body may also enhance the effect of strength training in people aged 65 and over. We, the ignorant compilers of this free web magazine, derive this from a study that will soon be published in Experimental Gerontology.
Dutch researchers Pim Knuiman and Roland Hangelbroek experimented with 61 people aged 65 and over, who were frail or pre-frail. Their muscle mass was decreasing, they were tired quickly and everyday physical activities such as walking became more and more demanding.
During 24 weeks, the researchers had their test subjects work out twice a week. Each session consisted of a short systemic warm-up on a bike, followed by a full-body workout with exercises such as leg-press, leg-extension, chest -press, the lat-pulldown, the pec-dec and the cable-row.
The test subjects made 8-15 reps/set, resting between their sets for 1 minute.
During the experiment the strength training did not increase basal concentration of the inflammatory factors interleukin-6, TNF-alpha and interleukin-8. The researchers determined that concentration at rest, and not right after a training session.
The concentration of inflammatory factors in the subjects’ blood was related to the effect of strength training: the more inflammatory factors, the smaller the effect of strength training on muscle strength.
“To conclude, 6 months of whole-body resistance exercise training did not affect basal plasma levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-8”, write Knuiman and Hangelbroek.
“In addition, elevated levels of plasma cytokines, especially TNF-alpha, were negatively correlated with increases in maximal strength for leg extension 1RM and leg press 1RM.”
“Our findings suggest that that basal plasma levels of cytokines prior to starting resistance training can provide an indication of the response to resistance exercise training among frail older subjects. It might be worthwhile to include these cytokines in further studies that investigate the effects of resistance exercise training among older adults.”