Bellevue Personal Training | Helping Older Adults Boost Psychological Well-Being

Finish researchers have discovered that older adults who pump iron not only benefit from increased muscle mass but can also improve their outlook on life! In a 9 month study of 106 adults, aged 65 – 75 it was determined that frequency was one of the most important variables. For the first three months all participants exercised twice a week; for the next 6 months, they were divided into groups that exercised once a week, twice a week, or three times a week, plus a control group which did no exercise.

During this time the researchers measured environmental quality of life, sense of coherence and depressive symptoms. Environmental quality of life means satisfaction with one's environment, safety and ability to access various activities (leisure activities/transportation). The sense of coherence involves comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness. Most importantly, how much people feel able to create these things in their lives.

By the time three months have completed all participants (except the control group which did not exercise) reported improved environmental quality of life and lowered depression. Quite suddenly, however, results began to shift. Quality of life began to decline for those who lowered their resistance training to only once a week. Those who exercised in the twice a week group continued to see improvements in quality of life and depression. An interesting aside is that the twice a week group showed a marked increase in sense of coherence, more so than the three times a week group! Depressive symptoms decreased for all groups with the exception of the once a week group.

The researchers concluded that not only was resistance exercise important for physical reasons but for environmental quality of life and sense of coherence.

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