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perrig - Age and Ageing 1998 27 469-475 1998 British...

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Age and Ageing 1998; 27: 469-475 © 1998, British Geriatrics Society The effects of resistance training on well-being and memory in elderly volunteers PASQUAUNA PERRIG-CHIELLO, WALTER J. PERRIG, ROLF EHRSAM 1 , HANNES B. STAEHELJN 2 , FRANZISKA KRINGS Institute of Psychology, University of Berne, Muesmattstrasse 45, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland 'institute of Sports and 2 Geriatric Clinic, University of Basle, Basle, Switzerland Address correspondence to: R Perrig-Chiello. Fax (+41)61 331 7519. E-mail: [email protected] Abstract Objective: to determine the short- and long-term effects of resistance training on muscle strength, psychological well-being, control-beliefs, cognitive speed and memory in normally active elderly people. Methods: 46 elderly people (mean age 73-2 years; 18 women and 28 men), were randomly assigned to training and control groups (n = 23 each). Pre- and post-tests were administered 1 week before and 1 week after the 8-week training intervention. The training sessions, performed once a week, consisted of a lOmin warm-up phase and eight resistance exercises on machines. Results: there was a significant increase in maximum dynamic strength in the training group. This training effect was associated with a significant decrease in self-attentiveness, which is known to enhance psychological well- being. No significant changes could be observed in control-beliefs. Modest effects on cognitive functioning occurred with the training procedure: although there -were no changes in cognitive speed, significant pre/post- changes could be shown in free recall and recognition in the experimental group. A post-test comparison between the experimental group and control group showed a weak effect for recognition but no significant differences in free recall. Significant long-term effects were found in the training group for muscular strength and memory performance (free recall) 1 year later. Conclusion: an 8-week programme of resistance training lessens anxiety and self-attentiveness and improves muscle strength. Keywords: cognitive function, elderly people, longitudinal study, memory, physical training Introduction Physical exercise and resistance training may improve, or at least maintain health, physical and psychological well-being and cognitive functioning in elderly people. Although the benefits of physical exercise have been consistently shown for objective health measures (e.g. improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness, favourable physiological changes such as lower serum cholesterol concentrations and increase in bone mineral density [1]), benefits in well-being and cognition have been less consistently demonstrated. Some studies have indi- cated improvement in, or positive associations with, mood [2], self-esteem [3] and morale [4], and a lower occurrence of depressive symptoms [5, 6]. Others found that few psychological changes could be clearly attributed to a 4-month programme of aerobic exercise training with elderly subjects [1]: there was only a
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perrig - Age and Ageing 1998 27 469-475 1998 British...

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