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Age Ageing. 1998 Jul;27(4):469-75.

The effects of resistance training on well-being and memory in elderly volunteers.

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Institute of Psychology, University of Berne, Bern, Switzerland.



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.


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 10 min warm-up phase and eight resistance exercises on machines.


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.


An 8-week programme of resistance training lessens anxiety and self-attentiveness and improves muscle strength.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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