In Search of Psychological Benefits: Exercise in Healthy Older Adults

Laura N. Gitlin, M. Powell Lawton, Lisa A. Windsor-Landsberg, Morton H. Kleban, Laura P. Sands, Joel Posner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study assessed the short-term psychological effects of an exercise training program for 267 healthy elderly volunteers randomly assigned to either a bicycle group that trained three times a week for 4 months or an attention control group that met once a week during the 4-month period. A second aim was to identify predictors of favorable change in either physiological performance in stress-test parameters or in behavioral attributes at the conclusion of training. Psychological assessment procedures included indicators of basic mental health, perceived quality of life, and activity level. One-way repeated-measure multivariate analysis of variance tests revealed only one significant univariate interaction effect: The exercising group showed significantly greater improvement in an index tapping report of feeling better from pretest to posttest as compared to controls. The directions of change for all other measures were uniformly in favor of exercisers but did not approach statistical significance. Behavioral and psychological variables were also found to be irrelevant in predicting improvement in physiological performance at Time 2. These data suggest that exercise program effects on psychological and behavioral indicators were very modest for older adults with very high levels of functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-192
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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