Little is known about the effects of resistance training on health related quality of life (HRQL) in the elderly.
The main purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of resistance training on strength, body composition, functional capacity and HRQL in independent living elderly people. We hypothesised that resistance training would improve lean mass, muscle strength, physical function and HRQL.
Subjects (N = 237, 73.7±5.7yrs, 58.2% female) participated in a 12-week resistance exercise program (3 times/week; 3 sets, 6–8 repetitions at 75–80% of the 1-repetition maximum) designed to increase strength and muscle mass of major muscle groups. Body composition, quadriceps- and grip strength, timed up and go test (TUG), six minute walk for distance (6MW) and HRQL were measured at baseline and endpoint.
Two hundred-and-four participants completed the study. Although the increase in lean mass was small (+0.8 kg, P<0.01), quadriceps strength (+53.5N), grip strength (+3.0lb), TUG (-0.6sec), 6MW (+33.6m) and HRQL (+1.2 t-score) improved significantly (all P<0.01). Changes in 6MW predicted improvement in HRQL after 12 weeks.
Our study shows that a 12-week resistance exercise program significantly improves lean mass, muscle strength, physical function and HRQL in elderly individuals, and that improvements in physical function predict improvements in HRQL. Our study indicates that resistance training should be promoted for the elderly as it has the potential to improve physical performance, thereby prolonging healthy, independent aging.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Kaplan RM, Ries AL.(2007) Quality of Life: Concept and Definition. COPD 4: 263–271
Adachi JD, Adami S, Gehlbach S, Anderson FA, et al (2010) Impact of Prevalent Fractures on Quality of Life: Baseline Results From the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women. Mayo Clin Proc 85: 806–813
Baumgartner RN, Koehler KM, Gallagher D, Romero L et al (1998) Epidemiology of sarcopeniaamong the elderly in New Mexico. Am J Epidemiol 147: 755–763
Lexell J, Henriksson-Larsén K, Winblad B, Sjöström M. (1983) Distribution of differnt fiber types in human skeletal muscle; effects of aging studies in whole muscle cross sections. Muscle Nerve 6: 588–595
Zacker RJ. (2006) Health-related implications and management of sarcopenia. JAAPA 19:24–29
Roubenoff R. (2000) Sarcopenia and its implications for the elderly. Eur J Clin Nutr 54:S40–S47.
Dreyer HC, Volpi E. (2005) Role of protein and amino acids in the pathophysiology and treatment of sarcopenia. J.Am.Coll.Nutr 24:140S–145S.
Cruz-Jentofta AJ, Landi F, Topinková E, Micheld JP (2010) Understanding sarcopenia as a geriatric syndrome. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 13:1–7.
Raphael D, Cava M, Brown I, Weir N, Heathcote K. (1995) Frailty: a public health perspective. Can J Public Health 86:224–227
Todd C, Skelton D. (2004) What are the main risk factors for falls among older people and what are the most effective interventions to prevent these falls? Copenhagen, WHO Regional Office for Europe (Health Evidence Network report; http://www.euro.who.int/document/E82552.pdf. Accessed 29.09.2010)
Mechanic D. (1999) The changing elderly population and future health care needs. J Urban Health 76:24–38
Rechel B, Doyle Y, Grundy E, McKee M. (2009) How can health systems respond to population ageing? In: Permanand G.(ed), Policy brief 10. World Health Organization 2009 and World Health Organization, the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies analyses
Hunter GR, McCarthy JP, Bamman MM.(2004) Effects of resistance training on older adults. Sports Med 34:329–348
Koopman R, van Loon LJC. (2009) Aging, exercise and muscle protein metabolism. J Appl Physiol. 106:2040–2044.
Peterson MD, Sen A, Gordon PM. (2010) Influence of resistance exercise on lean body mass in aging adults: A Meta-Analysis. Med Sic Sport Exerc (in print)
Bassey EJ, Short AH. (1990) A new method for measuring power output in a single leg extension: Fesability, relability and vilidity. Eur J Appl Physiol 60:385–390
Folstein MF, Folstein SE, McHugh PR. (1975) “Mini-mental state”. A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res 12:189–98
Helgason T, Björnsson JK, Tómasson K, Ingimarsson S. (1997) Health related quality of life. Laeknabladid 83:492–502
Helgason T, Björnsson JK, Tómasson K, Grétarsdóttir E. (2000) Health-related quality of life among Icelanders. Laeknabladid 86:251–257
Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordic Nutritional Recommendations 2004: Integrating nutrition and physical activity, 4 edition, Nord 2004:13. Copenhagen: Nordic Councils of Ministeres
Holland AE, Hill CJ, Rasekaba T, Lee A, Naughton MT, McDonald CF. (2010) Updating the minimal important difference for six-minute walk distance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 91:221–225
Fiatarone MA, Marks EC, Ryan ND, Meredith CN, Lipsitz LA, Evans WJ. (1990) High-intensity strength training in nonagenarians: Effect on skeletal muscle. JAMA 263:3029–3034
Henwood TR, Taaffe DR. (2005) Improved physical performance in older adults undertaking a short-term programme of high-velocity resistance training. Gerontology 51:108–115
Paterson DH, Warburton DER. (2010) Physical activity and functional limitations in older adults: a systematic review related to Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 7:38
Buchner DM, Cress ME, de Lateur BJ, Esselman PC, Margherita AJ, Price R, Wagner EH. (1997) The effect of strength and endurance training on gait, balance, fall risk, and health services use in community-living older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 52:M218–M224
Helgason T, Björnsson JK, Tómasson K, Grétarsdóttir E. et al. (2000) Health-related quality of life of patients before and after treatment. Laeknabladid 86:422–427
Goodpaster BH, Park SW, Harris TB et al. (2006) The loss of skeletal muscle strength, mass, and quality in older adults: The health, aging and body coposition study. J Gerotol A Biol Sci Med Sci 61:1059–1064
Gabriel DA, Kamen G, Frost G. (2006) Neural adaptations to resistive exercise: mechanisms and recommendations for training practices. Sports Med 36:133–49
Anstey KJ. (1999) Interrelationship among biological markers of aging, health, activity, acculturation, and cognitivie performance in late adulthood. Pshychol Aging 14:605–618
Takata Y, Ansai T, Soh I, Kimura Y, et al (2008) Physical fitness and cognitive function in an 85 year old community-dwelling population. Gerontology 54:354–360
Davidson JR. (2010) Major depressive disorder treatment guidelines in America and Europe. J Clin Psychiatry 71Suppl E01:E04
Herring MP, O’Connor PJ, Dishman RK (2010) The effect of exercise training on anxiety symptoms among patients: a systematic review. Arch Intern Med. 170:321–331
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Geirsdottir, O.G., Arnarson, A., Briem, K. et al. Physical function predicts improvement in quality of life in elderly icelanders after 12 weeks of resistance exercise. J Nutr Health Aging 16, 62–66 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-011-0076-7
- Health related quality of life (HRQL)
- resistance exercise
- elderly people
- 6 minute walking distance