Alternative forms of strengthening exercises

The decline of physical activity is often associated with ageing.(1) Lower levels of physical activity are associated with multiple adverse effects on the body's composition, such as an increase in fat mass and a reduction in muscle mass.(2) These adverse effects increase the likelihood of obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension and elevated fasting glucose, all of which lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.(1)

Fitness activities such as resistance training, tai chi and yoga are known to help with the effects associated with ageing. Read on to learn more about the benefits of these activities.

Resistance Training:

Resistance or strength training is known to increase muscular fitness, which also increases strength and endurance.(4) It has also been shown to improve musculoskeletal health, allowing continual independence in performing daily activities and reducing the possibility of injury. (5) An improvement in musculoskeletal strength can lead to a delay, prevention, or, in some cases, reversal in the effects of skeletal mass loss and function. (6) Low muscular strength increases the risks of disability, morbidity and mortality. (7)

Resistance training consists of exercises that are performed with weights, weight machines, resistance bands or using one’s own body weight as resistance (e.g., pushups and squats).(8)

A resistance training program should consider the experience, functional ability and goals of the individual.

Tai Chi:

Tai Chi evolved from martial arts and originated in China. Tai Chi is considered a form of moving meditation that consists of a series of movements that are slow, focused and accompanied by deep breathing. (9) Studies have shown that Tai Chi is beneficial for balance, mobility, muscular strength, aerobic capacity and falls prevention.(10) It is not only helpful for physical strength– it is also advantageous for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and mood disturbances. (14)


Yoga is becoming increasingly popular with the elderly. Yoga has been used as therapy for age related chronic conditions, such as back pain, arthritis, anxiety, depression and cancer.(11) A study conducted by Tiedemann and colleagues found there was significant improvement in mobility and balance after a 12-week Iyengar yoga program.(12) Overall, yoga has shown to be beneficial for muscular fitness and flexibility effects, as well as in its relaxation and stress management properties. These factors contribute to a better quality of life.(8)


Health practitioners recommend physical activity two to three times per week to maintain or improve fitness. It should also be noted that the benefits of physical activity can only be seen if an individual is regularly involved in the exercise regimes. (13)

Exercise physiology available at Surecell:

Our exercise physiologists at Surecell can help you create a tailored lifestyle and exercise program, which includes supervised training, nutrition advice and ongoing support. Exercise physiology is available as part of a Care Plan with a referral from your GP, and the costs of treatment are partially covered by Medicare, TAC, WorkCover and private health insurance.

PRP treatment and medical support

At our clinic, we also offer personal training, gym facilities, psychological services as well as medical support and pain management for musculoskeletal conditions. This includes platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and cell therapies. Feel free to contact our friendly staff at 03 9822 9996, or simply send us an enquiry here.


  1. Johanna K. Ihalainen et al. (2019) ‘Strength Training Improves Metabolic Health Markers in Older Individual Regardless of Training Frequency’, Frontiers in Physiology, 10. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00032.

  2. Chumlea, W. C., Guo, S. S., Kuczmarski, R. J., Flegal, K. M., Johnson, C. L., Heymsfield, S. B., et al. (2002). Body composition estimates from NHANES III bioelectrical impedance data. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 26, 1596–1609. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802167

  3. Häkkinen, K., Newton, R. U., Gordon, S. E., McCormick, M., Volek, J. S., Nindl, B. C., et al. (1998). Changes in muscle morphology, electromyographic activity, and force production characteristics during progressive strength training in young and older men. J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci. 53, B415–B423.

  4. Caspersen CJ, Powell KE, Christenson GM. Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public Health Rep 1985;100:126–131

  5. Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, et al. . Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39:1423–1434

  6. Roth, S. M., Ferrell, R. F., & Hurley, B. F. (2000). Strength training for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia. The journal of nutrition, health & aging, 4(3), 143–155

  7. Artero, E. G. ( 1,3 ) et al. (no date) ‘Effects of muscular strength on cardiovascular risk factors and prognosis’, Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, 32(6), pp. 351–358. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e3182642688.

  8. Armstrong, M. J., Colberg, S. R. and Sigal, R. J. (2015) ‘Moving beyond cardio: the value of resistance training, balance training, and other forms of exercise in the management of diabetes’, Diabetes Spectrum, 1 January, p. 14. Available at:

  9. Ernst, E. Pittler, M.H. Wider, B. Boddy, K.(2008) Oxford Handbook of Complementary Medicine. Oxford: OUP Oxford (Oxford University Press).

  10. Richerson, S. ( 1,3 ) and Rosendale, K. ( 2 ) (no date) ‘Does Tai Chi improve plantar sensory ability? A pilot study’, Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, 9(3), pp. 276–286. doi: 10.1089/dia.2006.0033.

  11. Cherniack, E. P. ( 1,2 ), Senzel, R. S. ( 1 ) and Pan, C. X. ( 1 ) (no date) ‘Correlates of use of alternative medicine by the elderly in an urban population’, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 7(3), pp. 277–280. doi: 10.1089/107555301300328160.

  12. Tiedemann, A. et al. (2013) ‘A 12-Week Iyengar Yoga Program Improved Balance and Mobility in Older Community-Dwelling People: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial’, Journals of Gerontology: Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 68(9), pp. 1068–1075. Available at:

  13. American Geriatrics Society (2011) ‘Summary of the Updated American Geriatrics Society/British Geriatrics Society Clinical Practice Guideline for Prevention of Falls in Older Persons’, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59(1), pp. 148–157. Available at:

  14. Lan, C., Lai, J.-S. and Chen, S.-Y. (2002) ‘Tai Chi Chuan: An Ancient Wisdom on Exercise and Health Promotion’, Sports Medicine, 32(4), pp. 217–224. Available at: