Kelsey J. Weitzel1, Kristin A. Miller1, Stephen D. Ball1, Breanne S. Baker2

1University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

2 Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Exercise, including resistance training (RT), has been shown to combat age related declines in physical and mental health, but most older adults do not engage in the recommended amount of exercise. Exercise engagement can be improved through community-based interventions, however long-term follow-up and measures of mental health are often lacking. PURPOSE: The first aim was to determine if eight weeks of participation in the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy (SSSH) RT program would impact older adults’ self-perceptions of general physical and mental health and if these perceptions changed three months after program participation. The second aim was to assess if any changes in perception were age-group dependent. METHODS: 488 participants completed pre-, post-SSSH, and three-month follow-up (3moFU) surveys. Surveys included questions in three domains: perceptions of health and frequency of activity, retrospection of feelings, and fear of falling. Mean group survey responses were compared using paired t-tests with a Bonferroni correction for each question domain. Additionally, age group (50-69 years Younger, n=210 vs. 70+ years Older, n=278) comparisons of pre-, post-SSSH, and 3moFU data were completed using repeated measures analysis of variance. RESULTS: Measures of general health, physical abilities, and resistance training frequency increased while measures of downheartedness and fear of falling during reaching for objects or at social events decreased throughout the intervention (all p≤0.05) and were maintained at the 3moFU as shown in Figure 1. Additionally, improvements were not different between age groups. CONCLUSIONS: Participation in eight weeks of the SSSH program elicited independent RT in the months to follow; resulting in positive perceptions of general health and physical capabilities. These changes also favorably influenced personal and social domains of mental health in older adults regardless of age group suggesting excellent generalizability of the results.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This study was supported by the University of Missouri Extension.

Figure 1.docx (79 kB)
Figure 1

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