Life quality during aging. The role of muscular training

Thursday 11 de September 12:10 pm


Dr. Jorge Cancino López

View profile >>

Dr. Jorge Cancino López

Physical Education Teacher (Metropolitan University of Educational Sciences, Chile)

Doctor of Science in Physical Activity (University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)

Faculty at the School of Medicine, School of Kinesiology, Universidad Mayor, Chile.

Coordinator of the Science Support Area to the Athlete at the High Performance Center CAR-Chile.

Head of the Diploma Program of Exercise Physiology, Universidad Mayor

Teacher at the Master of Sports Science and Medicine and Clinical Exercise Physiology, Universidad Mayor Universidad Mayor.

Board member of the Chilean Society of Sports Medicine.

Author of the book "Physiology of aerobic endurance: An integrated view Editorial Medica Panamericana (2013).

Image Gallery

Calidad de vida durante el envejecimiento.

Calidad de vida durante el envejecimiento.

Calidad de vida durante el envejecimiento.


Practicing physical activity regularly through the different stages of life contributes to delay the natural process of aging of the body and allows to maintain the quality of life beyond the adult stage, assured Doctor Jorge Cancino, Physical Education Professor at the Metropolitan University of Educational Sciences, from Chile.

The Director of the Degree in Exercise Physiology, at the Universidad Mayor de Chile, stated that with the increase of life expectancy and aging of the world’s population, it is necessary to implement moderate physical activity plans to avoid the deterioration of life quality of older adults.

Author of the book “Fisiología de la Resistencia aeróbica: Una visión integrada” (Physiology of Aerobic Resistance: A Comprehensive View), the speaker emphasized that statistics from the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association show that the obstaculization of physical activity in older adults has an impact in life quality and their judgment of happiness. For that reason, maintaining an active life in any stage of life is essential to preserve our health and happiness. 

“The ageing population is facing a loss of muscle strength and speed in walking or moving. As people come closer to a range of age between 55 and 65 years old, a great amount of cells known as satellite cells are lost, which in turn are involved in muscle fiber performance”, he explained.

This is reflected in an effect known as weakening of the tensile strength of the hand, for example, the ability to hold an object with one hand. 

He highlighted that it has to be noted that the strength decreases when the ageing process starts. Older adults can use up to 90% of their dynamic strength only to get up from a chair and stand up. While for a person considered young, getting up from a chair and standing up only implies 40% of their dynamic strength according to their weight.

Maximum strength is lost at a rate of 1 and 2% annually from the age of 40. Meanwhile, muscle power is lost between 3 and 4% annually.

He pointed out, however, that prescription of physical activity must take into account the fragility of an aging population so that it does not become a risk. Fragility is the increased vulnerability of older people, who become more prone to falls, delusions, disabilities (movement impairment). 

Dr. Cancino started out his presentation with a fact that is scaring both for young people and adults, yet an unavoidable part of the human condition: all of us, absolutely all of us, will grow old. 

The expert from the Universidad Mayor de Chile mentioned another study published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, which shows that older adults are more aware of the risk of falls, which results in reducing their walking speed, an important element in physical activity.

Therefore, quality of life impairment in older adults is associated to fragility resulting from loss of muscle mass, which becomes evident in their daily physical activity, such as walking from the bedroom to the kitchen and not only in sport activities.

Based on scientific evidence, Dr. Cancino, also a graduate in Physical Activity Science from the Palmas de Gran Canaria University, Spain, asked: What training should older adults do considering their reduced muscle strength?

Dr. Cancino presented studies on training programs for older adults showing that this age group can improve their performance if they exercise with reduced weight and therefore increase the speed of their activity.

This means, he explained, that healthcare professionals should recommend older adults to exercise with low weight, few repetitions, but at a faster speed. However, we must not forget that we have been taught to move slowly, so that increasing speed is part of a systematic learning for older adults.