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Research encourages seniors to pump more iron

Media release

Curtin University researchers are working with Healthway, Silver Chain and the Council on the Ageing WA to determine the current strength training patterns of seniors and to promote participation amongst the ageing population.

Project Manager Dr Elissa Burton, Curtin’s School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science said the project would highlight to seniors the importance of strength training and the physical and emotional wellbeing associated with exercising.

“Research shows only 12 per cent of Australian seniors currently participate in strength training each week,” Dr Burton said.

“Strength training is essential for building and maintaining muscles, curbs the effects of osteoporosis and reduces the symptoms of chronic diseases, all of which helps older people live in their own home longer.

“This project seeks to understand why some older people don’t feel comfortable participating in regular strength training and aims to find ways to get more people involved,” Dr Burton said.

To really understand the issue, the project team sought the advice of two Senior Representatives, Bob Ziegler and Shirley Barnes.

“Their job is to provide insight into what older people like and dislike when taking part in research and to ensure that the research approach is relevant for older people,” Dr Burton said.

At 85 years, Bob is a passionate health advocate with a lust for life who travels extensively. He currently undertakes strength training and has been part of the Living Stronger, Living Longer program for more than 11 years.

Shirley is in her mid-seventies and is President of her local social club which has more than 600 members. She is also a Councillor on the Village Residents Advisory Council.

“Having our senior representatives on the project team is invaluable and we are taking their advice seriously to get the best outcomes for older Western Australians,” Dr Burton said.

Funding for the research has been provided by Healthway.

For more information, visit Living Longer, Living Stronger at

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