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"Capable till the end"

Time and tide wait for no one. Maintaining skill, capacity and autonomy by using strength and conditioning.

It seems widely accepted that a properly executed resistance training program can improve an older adult’s ability to avoid injuries [1], as well as increase physical function [2],[3] mobility, balance, coordination and reduce the risk of falling. In addition, it has been demonstrated to create more robust psychological well-being [4] and improve social connections [5]. Moreover, physiologically speaking, there seem to be lots of benefits from using a well-thought-out training program, with much of the literature concluding a reduction and even reversal in signs of frailty [6], improvement in contractile function, decrease in muscular atrophy and amelioration in morphology, [7], as well better neuromuscular function, [8] and hormonal adaptations [9].

Physiological inflammation, the good, the bad and the ugly

As we age, our cells undergo a complex signalling process called apoptosis, which could be loosely described as a regulation of non-functional cells, average cell turnover [10], or, more morbidly, pre-programmed cell death [11]. Although it may seem apoptosis is not responsible for the ageing process, it is part of it and could be regarded as essential to maintaining homeostasis [12].

Cytokines are a small group of proteins responsible for regulating the response to disease. Pro-inflammatory cytokines aid in proliferating disease, whereas anti-inflammatory cytokines reduce inflammation and increase healing. Oxidative stress caused by various lifestyle factors can be seen as a promotor of rapid cell death which may increase apoptotic signalling in older or unused muscle fibres, inducing a lack of balance between anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines [13]. Additionally, it seems this may increase the chances of mitochondrial dysfunction [14], apoptotic susceptibility and catabolism [15], therefore reducing protein synthesis, promoting muscle wastage, muscular atrophy and sarcopenia [16]. Sarcopenia can be defined as a reduction in the amount of myofibril satellite cells and or size of muscle fibres [17], which may contribute to a reduced capacity of functional movement in an individual [18]. In addition, it has been stipulated that a decrease in motor units seems to play a significant role in the proliferation of sarcopenia [19], with adults between the age of 60 to 90 years of age experiencing total losses of anywhere up to 50% per muscle group [20].