Seniors join group fitness class for USC research

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Seniors join group fitness class for USC research


26 September 2012

26 September 2012

A group of Sunshine Coast seniors will be taking part in regular weightlifting classes as part of a research project being undertaken by the University of the Sunshine Coast.

PhD student Vaughan Nicholson is seeking to determine what impact a group fitness class called BodyPump has on the health of bones and muscles in adults aged 55 to 75.

This project is supported by the Australian Fitness Network.

BodyPump is a supervised gym workout that focuses on eight separate muscle groups. It is performed to music using free weight equipment, barbells and aerobic steps.

Mr Nicholson said due to the growing number of older people participating in classes, it was important to measure what physical impacts the workout has on them.

“We are trying to find out how effective the class is for improving muscle strength and bone density, body composition, as well as cardiovascular fitness,” he said.

“We expect there will be benefits in some of these measures but we also want to quantify any adverse events or injury incidents during the program.”

Mr Nicholson said research participants would do two sessions each week over a 26 week period.

As a physiotherapist, he said he was particularly interested in changes to bone density.

“We have chosen this type of exercise as it incorporates resistance training, so it may have considerable impacts on bone density,” he said.

“I am interested to see the extent of any improvements, or whether it exacerbates conditions like osteoarthritis or causes participants to experience increases in pain.”

Michelle Widdicombe

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