Posts by: Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.


Numerous studies have demonstrated that appropriate progressive resistance exercise for the lumbar spine muscles can significantly increase trunk extension strength and reduce low back discomfort (Carpenter and Nelson 1999; Morrow 1997; Risch et al. 1993).

The most effective exercise for strengthening the low back muscles appears to be full range (approximately 75 degrees) of […]

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We have found that many adults who come to the YMCA to begin a fitness program have little understanding of where to start and how to progress in either endurance exercise or strength training.

Although individual differences in abilities, interests, experience and equipment availability preclude a single program for all older adults, I would like […]

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Do you remember when you were in elementary school, sitting for hours in the classroom and then running outside for recess?

You didn’t warm up; you just ran as fast as you could playing tag and other stop-and-go games. If you’re reading this article, however, those days are long gone. And a warm-up period may […]

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The best way to increase muscle strength is through well-planned, progressive resistance exercise.

Fortunately, effective strength training programs can be extremely time efficient. In addition, sensible strength exercise provides a variety of physiological benefits that are complementary to walking.

Consider our study with 1.644 men and women (average age 55 years) who did a simple […]

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The latest research on physical activity among Americans published by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute for Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is almost beyond belief.

Assessments of nearly 5,000 people by means of activity accelerometers revealed that only 3.5%of men and women between the ages of 20 and 60 obtain 30 […]

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Strength training is important for adults of all ages.

Because an average-sized head weighs between 12 and 15 pounds, the neck muscles are important for maintaining proper head position whether we are walking, standing or sitting. Strong neck muscles are our basic defense against the force of gravity, which constantly works to pull our heads […]

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Bicycling is a truly amazing aerobic activity that can be performed and enjoyed by a large percentage of older adults.


The wheels provide exponential advantages over ambulatory exercise on level surfaces and down hills. However, the additional weight of the cycle renders uphill riding much more physically demanding than uphill walking or running.



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Men and women who do not perform regular resistance exercise experience progressive muscle atrophy.

Research indicates that inactive adults lose about one-half pound of muscle per year during their 30s and 40s.(5,8)   The rate of muscle loss may double to one pound per year in people over fifty years of age. (13)  Unfortunately, the higher […]

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Resistance exercise has various benefits for older adults including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and fall prevention.

Follow these guidelines for success.

Men and women who do not perform regular resistance exercise experience progressive muscle atrophy throughout the aging process. Research indicates that inactive adults lose about half a pound of muscle per […]

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50-plus tennis players can prevent injury and improve performance through total-body strength training.

 Active older adults typically perform a variety of physical activities, but few of these provide progressive resistance exercise. For example, walking, running, cycling, swimming and other aerobic activities promote cardiovascular fitness, but they do not prevent the five-to seven- pound-per-decade muscle loss […]

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