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All about our HUR strength training study

Date of news/blog: 22nd October 2017

Today we’d like to share something we’ve been planning for a while – a strength training study using our modern HUR gym at Pine Martin Grange. The HUR gym equipment operates differently to traditional fitness equipment. It uses air pressure technology to create a much smoother movement of lifting weights. The use of air resistance takes away the initial effort that is required to lift a weight and gently slows down as the weight is released. This method reduces stress on the body’s joints and connective tissues which makes it ideal for developing the fitness of older people. For this reason, the study has been designed for volunteers aged 75 and over to show just how beneficial strength training is for the more mature adult!

To put our HUR gym to the test, we decided to run a twelve-week strength training study to see if we could improve the fitness levels of people in our local community. It’s a well-known fact that exercise is beneficial to our health at all stages of life. However, with increased awareness of the benefits of exercise on lifestyle and emotional well-being, it is now a better time than ever to get more active. Through our study, we are hoping to find out how much the exercise done over twelve weeks effects sleep patterns, joint pains, mental agility, independence and most importantly well-being.

The first stage of our study began with our local volunteers. We had the chance to meet them individually in our café at Pine Martin Grange to get to know them and find out what they were hoping to achieve from the training. In order to work out their overall progress at the end of the study, we asked them a few assessment questions to create a unique profile for them, that covered how well they slept, how they spent their time, their overall happiness, and general level of stress. It was interesting to see how varied the responses were to the question of ‘why would you like to take part in our study?’ From the expected reply which was to increase personal fitness to the more unexpected, to help make thought processes clearer, our volunteers in their honesty were very insightful even from the very first stage.

From here they began stage two; the balance test stage. This was conducted by fitness expert Clare Barrat and Rob Whistlecroft from HUR. The balance testing stage was designed to track weight distribution, core balance and amount of movement when standing still. Each volunteer had to stand on the HUR Balance Platform, a level piece of equipment that was not dissimilar in appearance to a weighing scale. They had to stand on the Balance Platform for a total of four times, for thirty seconds each time. Firstly with their eyes open staring straight ahead and keeping as still as possible. On the second test, it was the same but with their eyes closed. Even though the base surface had not changed it was clear to see a slight difference in movement; it’s remarkable how much our sight alone can keep us still! For the third part of the balance test, the volunteer had their eyes open, but in addition to standing on the Balance Platform, a foam pad was placed on top of it. Then for the fourth test they had to stand on the foam pad with their eyes closed. This was the point in the test that was the biggest challenge. There was a lot more movement and one volunteer even described it to feel as though they were on a boat! Once these tests were complete, the HUR system compiled all the data from the four tests and gave clear visual feedback on how much movement there was, the overall core strength and their weight distribution. Some of the results surprised our volunteers and Clare and Rob alike. The system is able to demonstrate the probability a person has of falling over using their balance results which can be an invaluable asset to more vulnerable older people.

The third and final part of our testing stage of the study was the equipment test. HUR call this the Isometric Strength Testing. It provides fast data about a person’s maximum strength as well as any asymmetries in their strength. For example, if someone has a much stronger left arm than their right due to injury. At this stage of testing, our volunteers were able to use the equipment they will be training with for the first time. They used two pieces of equipment to test different areas of the body to create an average maximum strength. This data will then be combined with the results of the balance test as well as personal ailments or areas of development individuals are seeking to improve, creating a tailored and unique fitness plan for each volunteer to use across the next twelve weeks.

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ARTICLE UPDATE: 02/03/2018

We are very pleased to announce that our strength training study has been featured on! Thank you again to all our volunteers who worked very hard and proved that fitness isn’t just for the younger generation. To read carehome’s special feature please click here: