Resistance training can maintain and increase muscle strength and functional capacity when aging and it is recommended for older adults at least twice a week. However, only a few meet these recommendations. Sedentary lifestyle has unfavorable associations also with psychological functioning and mental health.
The study investigated the effects of a nine-month supervised resistance training intervention on exercise motivation, exercise planning and exercise self-efficacy. In addition, it was examined whether these factors predict the continuation of resistance training for the next year following the intervention. The study involved 104 healthy 65-75-year-olds who did not meet physical activity guidelines for endurance exercise at baseline and did not have previous resistance training experience.
- Nine months of regular resistance training increased the intrinsic motivation for both training and physical activity in general: the subjects started to enjoy exercising. Additionally, exercise planning increased, indicating that the subjects started to think about how to start and maintain a physically active lifestyle, says Tiia Kekäläinen, PhD student, from the University of Jyväskylä.
After completing the supervised resistance training intervention, nearly half of the participants (46%) continued resistance training independently. Approximately half of them participated in resistance training on average once-a-week during the following year and the other half twice-a-week.
Participants who increased their intrinsic motivation for exercise and exercise self-efficacy during the intervention were more likely to continue resistance training twice-a-week.
- The results suggest that finding intrinsic motivation for exercise and increasing confidence to maintain a physically active lifestyle contribute to continuing resistance training independently. These factors should be taken into account in exercise interventions and exercise in general to promote continuance of behavior, Kekäläinen says.