Affiliations: Sargent College, Boston University, 635 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, USA
Note:  Corresponding author: 352-R Raymond Hill Rd., Raymond, ME 04071, USA. Tel.: +1 207 6554645; e-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Society has an interest in maintaining the work capacity of its aging workers. Fewer and fewer younger workers are entering the workforce to replace older citizens no longer able to perform the worker role. There is a demonstrated relationship between increased strength and work capacity, yet the occupational therapy literature emphasizes generalized exercise programming. This type of programming is ineffective at building strength in the elderly worker. High intensity progressive resistance exercise (PRE) can increase strength in the very old worker, yet therapists are hesitant to employ PRE, perhaps due to a potential bias against the use of high intensity PRE with this cohort. Use of PRE may present some difficulties in the clinical situation where continual supervision and resistance training equipment is not available. The adaptive use of functional activities as a resistance training strategy to build strength may be able to overcome the difficulties attendant with the use of PRE while preserving its benefits. Several other implications for occupational therapy practitioners are discussed.