Muscle strength as a ‘building block’ for healthy ageing women

The aim of this project is to make muscle strength training easier for women in midlife. This will help them to build greater physical reserves and avoid falls, injury and loss of independence later in life.


Catalyst R2

Lead Organisation

Sheffield Hallam University


Yorkshire & The Humber


Sustaining Physical Activity

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About the project

Women in midlife have been at the heart of a creative co-design process. An innovative approach to strength training has been developed that integrates behaviour change and exercise science and addresses all major barriers.

Falls in later life are a major threat to healthy ageing. They can lead to pain, injury, and loss of independence. Falls have a significant impact on health services, both immediate hospital care and long-term aftercare.

The 60+ age group is growing faster than any other age group, therefore problems related to falls will increase. Women express fear of falling more than men and they sustain more hip fractures from falls. Current approaches focus on older people who have had a fall or are at risk of falling. More proactive approaches are needed earlier in life.

Muscle strength is an essential ‘building block’ for healthy ageing. Strength declines as we age but it can be maintained through exercise. Approximately half of all women aged 45 years and over, do no regular strength exercises.

The aim of this project – Upstream Strength Training Interventions to Improve the Ageing Trajectory of Women in Midlife – is to find ways to make it easier for women in midlife to do regular muscle strength training. This would enable them to arrive at the ‘start line’ of later life in better health and with greater physical reserves.

We would work closely with women in midlife to understand their thoughts and opinions about strength training. We want to understand what makes it harder for them and what might make it easier. We will co-create a range of potential ideas and solutions, these will be tested out with other women and with key partners including healthcare professionals, academics, designers, fitness professionals and people who influence policy.


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