Resistance Training: An Often Overlooked Drug

Jun 03, 2018

As we age, we begin to lose muscle mass.  Furthermore, our muscle strength declines 3 times faster! And by this, when we get to this point in our lives, we can become frail, more dependent and have an increased risk of dementia.

Are we doomed to this fate? Or can we do something to prevent it, or at least slow down the onset of these age-related issues?

Usually, most ageing people resort to medicines to get relief. But what medicines really do is simply patch symptoms. Yet, not many of us know that there is a “drug” that we tend to overlook but can easily gain access to. And it could even be a better option than taking over-the-counter drugs.

This often-overlooked drug is resistance training, like Reformer Pilates.

How Effective is Resistance Training in Ageing People?

Once you reach your 50s, resistance training is critical to maintaining your ability to perform the usual day-to-day activities and keep an active and independent lifestyle. It can be the best type of exercise to help you stay sharp and maintain a positive outlook as you age.

Resistance training has long been seen to help treat loss of muscle mass and strength and movement limitations. In 1990, 9 older adults living in a nursing home with such issues underwent resistance training. After 8 weeks, they saw an average strength gain of 174%.

What’s even more astonishing is that 2 individuals in the study no longer needed a cane to assist them in walking. And 1 out of 3 who were unable to stand from a chair, was now able to stand up without any help!

Resistance training can also help reduce early death risk by 81% and the risk of ending up in a nursing home by 84%. As of now, the only way to make this happen is doing resistance training, like Reformer Pilates.

In a British study, adults who performed resistance training 2 times a week had reduced death risk by 20% and cancer deaths by 43%. And according to US Women’s Health Study, women who performed 145 minutes of strength training per week had 19-27% reduced early death risk from any cause.

How Does Resistance Training Provide All These Benefits?

Resistance training can stimulate the growth of muscles, so this type of exercise suits well for ageing people whose muscles are declining.

Not only does resistance training help address muscle loss but also cognitive problems. A study done at the University of Sydney showed that it can help with the improvement of cognitive function in adults who have complaints about their memory.

It seems that strength gains and improved cognitive function are associated with each other, and focusing on improving muscles can maximise the benefits.

Resistance training, like Reformer Pilates, has also been utilized in hospitals for adults with kidney failure undergoing haemodialysis. It reduced their inflammation and improved their muscle strength and body composition.

Another thing that makes resistance training a great exercise is that it has been shown to improve bone strength in postmenopausal women, help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type II diabetes and fight the side effects of androgen-deprivation therapy for men with prostate cancer. And last but not the least; it’s beneficial for people who have sleep issues, depression and those who are recovering from a heart attack.

All studies mentioned above have something in common – the exercises were performed at a minimum of 2 days per week and they were completely supervised, used equipment and were performed at high intensity.

At the end of the day, remember that it’s not always medicine that will resolve, help avoid or reverse every health issue. Reformer Pilates is just as potent, and in some cases, could be even better than pills, in such a way it puts quality in life instead of reducing it.

Would a drug-free lifestyle interest you? How about joining a Reformer Pilates class? Achieve a healthy lifestyle with Reformer Pilates in Perth! Get in touch with us on 9272 7359 or click here to book in for your free Pilates Body Assessment.



  • Dr Yorgi Mavros. Resistance training – an underutilised drug available in everybody’s medicine cabinet. BMJ Blog. 2017-11-27.