#PTonICE Daily Show – Wednesday, August 9th, 2023 – Intensity, muscle volume, and inflammation

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Modern Management of the Older Adult faculty member Jeff Musgrave discusses a randomized control trial that investigates the impact of inflammation and different intensities of strength training on global inflammatory load and immune response. The study involved 81 participants, aged 65 to 75, who underwent a 12-week strength training program at varying intensities. Thigh muscle volume was measured using computed tomography, and blood tests were conducted to assess inflammation markers.

The results of the study revealed that moderate and high intensity strength training yielded superior improvements compared to moderate and low intensity training. Participants in the moderate and high intensity group experienced a 15% increase in thigh muscle volume, while those in the moderate and low intensity group only saw a 9% increase. Furthermore, the moderate and high intensity group exhibited reduced thigh fat volume, decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines, increased anti-inflammatory cytokines, and elevated free floating leukocytes.

Jeff underscores the significance of incorporating moderate to high intensity strength training for older adults, particularly those in the 65 to 75 age range. He highlights the sedentary and overweight state of many older adults in the US, emphasizing the need to address frailty in this population. Jeff also discusses the risks associated with not implementing moderate to high intensity strength training, including increased inflammation, decreased muscle volume, and heightened body fat.

Take a listen to learn how to better serve this population of patients & athletes.

If you’re looking to learn more about live courses designed to better serve older adults in physical therapy or our online physical therapy courses, check our entire list of continuing education courses for physical therapy including our physical therapy certifications by checking out our website. Don’t forget about all of our FREE eBooks, prebuilt workshops, free CEUs, and other physical therapy continuing education on our Resources tab.


00:00 INTRO

What’s up everybody? Welcome back to the PT on ICE Daily Show. Before we jump into today’s episode, let’s chat about Jane, our show sponsor. Jane makes the Daily Show possible and is the practice management software that so many folks here at ICE utilize. The team at Jane knows how important it is for your patients to get the care they need. And with this in mind, they’ve made it really easy and convenient for patients to book online. One tip that has worked well for a lot of practices is to make the booking button on your website prominent so patients can’t miss it. Once clicked, they get redirected to a beautifully branded online booking site. And from there, the entire booking process only takes around two minutes. After booking an appointment, patients get access to a secure portal where they can conveniently manage their appointments and payment details, add themselves to a waitlist, opt in to text and email reminders, and fill out their intake form. If you all are curious to learn more about online booking with Jane, head over to jane.app slash physical therapy. Book their one-on-one demo with a member of their team. And if you’re ready to get started, make sure to use the code ICEPT1MO. When you sign up, that gives you a one-month grace period that gets applied to your new account. Thanks, everybody. Enjoy today’s show.


Welcome to the PT on ICE Daily Show. It is Wednesday, so that means it is all things geriatrics. We like to call this Geri on ICE. So can’t wait to get into a deep dive of this randomized control trial that just dropped last month in July, talking about inflammation, various intensities of strength training, how that impacts our global inflammatory load, as well as things like our immune response. And then we’re going to deep dive after the article into what happens if you don’t follow the results of this study and if you do, what the opportunity is for your patients. But before we get into that, we’ve got lots of opportunities. If you want to continue the learning process, if you want to sharpen the sword when it comes to working with older adults, we have got just a handful of seats left in Essential Foundation. So if you want to jump in, you need to do that quick. There are only a few seats left. We can still get you on boarded. You’re not going to miss a thing. If you want to hop in for advanced concepts, you’ve already had Essential Foundations. The next cohort is going to be October 10th. And then if you want to see us live on the road, the revamp is releasing this weekend. I cannot wait. All of the faculty of the older adult division are descending on Lexington, Kentucky. We’re coming to the bluegrass to show show out with this new content. It’s going to be super fun. If you miss getting your seat for that this weekend, next weekend, we’re going to be both in Bedford, Texas, as well as in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


So as promised, the study, Intensity Effects of Strengthening Exercise on Thigh Muscle Volume, Pro and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokines, Immunocytes in the Elderly, a randomized control trial. So this trial had 81 participants. We’ve got adults 65 to 75 years old. 39 of those were male. 41 of those were female. And they were taken through a 12 week strength training program at various intensities. Baseline measures were thigh muscle volume via a computed tomography and blood test. They also did their due diligence. We know how important nutrition is to get an idea, at least of their caloric intake. Now, did not go into detail of how much protein, how much fat, how many carbs. Didn’t look at macros, but they did identify that all the adults in the study were consuming about the same calories on average. So the control group spent 10 to 15 minutes doing meditation and stretching. Not things that are awful, but definitely the control group when we’re talking about effects of strength training. The experimental group did 50 minutes of exercise three days a week. They had squatting, they did pressing movements, spine flexion and extension on Mondays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, they hit those knee flexors, extensors. They did ankle planar flexion, chest flies and rows. All of this was primarily done on machines, machine based exercises. And then when they broke down the different intensities, what they did is they recalculated each month and they worked them off different repetition maxes. So the low intensity strength training group worked off of a 10 rep max, a 9 rep max and then an 8 rep max. If you’re looking consecutively across those three months as it was a 12 week study. The moderate intensity group hit 10 rep max, 9 and 8 rep maxes and recalculated their strength each month. And then the high intensity group worked off an 8 rep max, a 7 rep max and a 6 rep max. So I thought that was pretty cool that they recalculated their strength and then they used the same measure there of course to calculate their intensity for their strength training. So, after 12 weeks of strength training, the moderate and high intensity strength training group had superior improvements in their thigh muscle volume. Their thigh muscles got larger at a percentage of about 15% versus 9% on the moderate and low side of things. They showed reduced thigh fat volume, reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines, increased anti-inflammatory cytokines as well as increased their free floating leukocytes. Lots of $10 terms in there, but the reality is when we’re looking at the impact of moderate or low intensity versus moderate and high intensity. It was statistically significant that moderate and high intensity strength training for older adults superior. Whether you’re talking about adding muscle, reducing fat, reducing inflammation and even bolstering the immune system, which really I thought was super cool. So that’s the basics of the study. If you’ve been hanging around the Institute of Clinical Excellence in this community, you’re not going to be surprised to hear the results of the study. But what I want you to do is I want us to go a level deeper.


I want you to think about your patients on your caseload that are 65 to 75 years old. The state of the union on older adults, especially in the US more so than other places in the world, is we are inactive. We are overweight. We are not hitting ACSM guidelines. Most older adults in that 65 plus category are on somewhere on the continuum of frailty. They have low physical reserve. They have low physical resiliency. They are vulnerable to injury and decline, losing their independence. So most of our clients are on this very rapid downward trajectory. And we have got at our hands the tools, rehab clinicians. We are able to intervene with strength training intervention. If we will go moderate to high intensity, we know we can increase their muscle mass. We can reduce reduce their body fat. We can reduce inflammation. And let’s think about some of the conditions that are on board outside of low reserve, low resiliency. We like to think about a thing called one repetition max living. They are very near their 100 percent capacity to get out of a chair. Think about your client who cannot stand from their normal chair without using their arms. Their one repetition max squat is less than body weight. And think about how many times they have to stand up and sit down throughout the day, giving a near one repetition max effort. Crazy! How exhausting is life for those people that are barely able to do their activities of daily living? I want you to also think about some of these global inflammatory conditions. These inflammatory markers increase the risk of progressions in arthritis, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndromes like diabetes. Think about how many of our patients are sitting in this very vulnerable situation. So we’ve got this picture of our older adults on the decline, probably on the frailty spectrum. If they’re on our caseload, probably have arthritis, probably have inflammatory conditions. Then we think about the opportunity that we have if we just add high intensity strength training intervention. Think about the change that you can make for them. How you can bolster their strength, their function. Get them away from that line of independence where they can just not barely get through their activities, but start building some sizeable reserve. Think about how much we can do if we hit moderate to high intensity. If they don’t have inflammatory conditions yet, think about isolating them from that risk. And then not even covered in the study because these were not primary measures they were tracking, but just knowing the literature for older adults.


Think about the benefit of heavier loads that’s not even discussed in this study. Think about their bone density. Think about their confidence. If they know they can lift way more than they have to in daily life, is that going to impact their confidence? Is having more confidence going to help them lift with better mechanics more confidently? Is it going to help them balance in unusual scenarios more confidently? Absolutely. Confidence in that psychological impact. Don’t count that out. So just think about all the opportunities with heavier load. And then what I want you to think about is maybe you’re still on the fence with this stuff and you’re like, I don’t know if that’s safe. I’m a little concerned. Maybe you don’t feel quite equipped or you’ve not seen that modeled before and you’re a little bit nervous. But I want you to think about this. I want you to think about the risk and what happens to these older adults in a very vulnerable situation if you don’t. If you don’t hit them with moderate to high intensity, I want to outline some of the results of the control group. During just that 12 week period where they did not perform moderate to high intensity or any strength training whatsoever, their resting inflammation went up. Their muscle volume went down. Their body fat went up. Their leukocytes went down. They became way more vulnerable in a 12 week period, just 12 weeks of not doing what they should be on the strength training train. Think about what happened to markers that were not tested. Think about their bone density. Think about their ability to get through their day with enough reserve and enough strength to really make it through the day. Just think about all the missed opportunities. I’m going to recap real quick. I know I’m super pumped about this. This is what it’s all about, team. But I want you to think about the opportunity with moderate to high strength training interventions. Based on this randomized control trial, we can feel confident that we’re going to increase their muscle thigh volume. Thinking about things like sarcopenia, frailty, all those categories. We can reduce their body fat. We can reduce pro-inflammatory markers. We can increase anti-inflammatory markers. We can bolster the immune system. Just based on this study, forget about bone density. Forget about one rep max living. Forget about confidence. We know those things just from this study. Then I want you to think about what you can do for your patients if you start these interventions. Think about how powerful of a tool you have. You have the keys to the castle in your pocket. If we can just go a little bit heavier. Remember, it’s relative. It is relative. Yes, I will be sharing the link to this study in the caption. What happens if you don’t? If you don’t, we know this steady decline of frailty, deconditioning is going to continue. We know based on this study that if we don’t intervene here, our older adults are going to become more frail. They’re going to lose reserve. They’re going to lose more muscle mass, be at higher risk of sarcopenia. We know that they’re going to have higher inflammatory markers. They’re going to be more at risk for progression in arthritis, metabolic conditions, cardiovascular disease. Just think about what processes you’re allowing to hasten on. What’s going to happen to your client if you don’t get on board? Team, super spicy, super pumped about this. Got a little impassioned about this. I’ll be sharing the link to this study in the caption. Super cool. Lots to think about here. Would love to hear your thoughts. Would love to hear if you have any success stories of clients that you’ve been using, moderate to high intensity strength training, and what the results have been. Otherwise, team, I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday and we will see you soon.

14:10 OUTRO

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