New Study Shows Age-Related Muscle Loss is Reversible
Analysis of 77,000 Workouts by Welcyon, Fitness After 50, Proves Strength Training Produces Quick, Dramatic, and Sustainable Benefits in Adults Over 50
November 26, 2014 // Franchising.com // EDINA, Minn. – An exhaustive analysis by Welcyon, Fitness After 50 – a Minneapolis-based chain of health clubs specially designed for adults 50 or older – concludes that muscle loss can be reversed at any age, with the average member growing 56% stronger in three months and doubling in strength within a year by following a structured strength-training workout two or three times a week.
This is a critical finding since inactive adults lose 10% of their muscle mass per decade. By their 50s and 60s they are 30% to 40% weaker than in their late 20s.
"Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength due to years of inactivity makes it hard for many of us to do things that once came so easily, like hiking, gardening, traveling, even climbing flights of steps," said Welcyon co-founder and CEO Suzy Boerboom. "The good news is that adults who begin a regular strength-training program can regain the strength, energy and stamina they need to do activities they love."
The Welcyon study analyzed the strength gains of more than 700 club members across 77,000 workouts from April 2010 to December 2013. It included 531 females and 185 males ranging from 50 to 92 years of age, all with at least two years of tracked workouts. All sessions were customized for each member’s abilities and limitations, and designed to help them grow stronger in five major muscle groups: the upper back, lower back, chest, abdomen and legs.
The average member performed 13 strength exercises during a 30-40-minute workout on Welcyon’s air-driven strength training equipment. The resistance settings on each machine were customized to the unique capabilities of each member. Members progressed at their own rates and, although progression was encouraged by fitness coaches, it was not mandated.
Over the nearly four-year analysis, members performed a total of 876,262 sets of exercises over 76,973 sessions. The average increases in machine resistance and strength for all members over time were as follows; 3 months: 55.6%, 6 months: 81.3%, 12 months: 107.2%, 18 months: 117.7%, and 24 months: 140.8%.
Muscle groups with the biggest strength gains included: Leg Strength: Women – 224%, Men – 196%; Chest: Women – 179%, Men – 132%; and Upper Back/Neck: Women – 120%, Men – 153%; and Lower Back/Abdomen: Women – 72%, Men – 71%.
"In very real terms, these numbers translate to enormous improvements in quality of life," said Boerboom. "For example, someone struggling to lift a 10-pound bag of groceries today could be lifting 15 pounds in three months, and 30 pounds within a year. Think about what you could do differently if you were twice as strong in a year? With all this new found stamina and energy, would you start dancing or skating again, take a bike tour across Europe, revisit hobbies you left long ago?"
Beyond gaining muscle, Boerboom said members reported weight loss, reduced reliance on medication due to improved health, and renewed enjoyment in a wide range of physical activities.
As examples, Boerboom cited Steve and Ann Goddard of Bloomington, Minn. Steve came to Welcyon to continue his progress after rehab for a herniated disc, while Ann simply wanted to keep challenging herself because walking around her neighborhood wasn’t enough. Steve and Ann’s overall strength gains were 416% and 125%, respectively.
"When we first came to Welcyon, Steve could hardly walk because his knees and hip were totally out of whack," said Ann. "Now we are in our late 50s and work out regularly. We traveled to Norway and both of us had the strength and stamina to walk six to seven miles a day sightseeing. It’s unbelievable."
"This analysis – and many others like it – show that a moderate, but consistent strength-training program produces outsized benefits for adults over the age of 50," said Boerboom. The key to success, she says, is doing strength training at least two times a week.
About Welcyon, Fitness After 50
Founded in 2010 by Tom and Suzy Boerboom, former health club owners and long-time experts in the field of active aging, and investor/owner Paul Contris, Welcyon, Fitness After 50, is an up-and-coming franchisor of health clubs for adults over 50. The company has carved a niche in the $22 billion health club industry with a concept that caters specifically to the exploding baby boomer market and its desire for healthier and more active lives. Based in Minneapolis, Welcyon has seven locations open or under construction in Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota and South Dakota, and is expanding nationwide via franchising. For more information, visit www.welcyon.com.
SOURCE Welcyon, Fitness After 50