Women over age 60 may need to exercise only one day a week to significantly improve strength and endurance, says a new study.
The study, by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), monitored 63 women performing combined aerobic exercise training (AET) and resistance exercise training (RET) for 16 weeks.
One group performed AET and RET one time per week, a second group two times per week and a third group three times per week.
The study found significant increases in muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness and functional tasks in each group, but there were no significant differences in outcomes among groups.
"One of the biggest barriers to exercise training for the older female population is adherence, and one of the key findings in this study is that doing a little bit of exercise can go a long way," Gordon Fisher, Ph.D., primary investigator of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Human Studies in the School of Education, with a secondary appointment in Nutrition Sciences in the School of Health Professions, said.
"Telling people that they need to do at least three to five days of exercise to improve their overall health can be a major obstacle.
"Lack of time is the most often-cited barrier to exercise adherence. This study demonstrates that doing as little as one AET and one RET workout each week can provide a lot of benefit for older women's overall quality of life and health," he said.
The study is published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.