Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults


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It is also important for gymnasium and fitness center owners, managers, and staff who provide such programs to better understand the reasons why older participants withdraw from attending resistance training programs after having commenced the program. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the reasons why older people who had been participating in a resistance training program chose to discontinue participation. This was a cross-sectional descriptive study, in which participants were surveyed by mail.

During August and September , questionnaires were sent to participants who had ceased participation in a resistance training program between May and April Due to confidentiality requirements, the managers could not provide actual contact details of these former participants to the research team.

As a result, the researchers prepared participant invitation letters, questionnaires, and reply paid envelopes into individual envelopes and posted them in bundles to each of the participating managers. The managers then added a name and address label to each individual envelope and posted them to past members meeting the study criteria.

The participating gymnasiums were all delivering Living Longer Living Stronger resistance training programs specifically for seniors within their facility and agreed to be involved in the research. Two consumer representatives two older people, aged in their late 70s — one who participated regularly in resistance training and one who did not also assisted to develop the wording and format of the questionnaire.

This study was one section of a larger research project, and the consumer representatives were part of the project team for a period of 2 years.

Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips

Their role in this project was to provide feedback on the appropriateness of all research documents, methods, language, and so on to older people in the community. The lack of research in this area prevented the use of validated scales in the data collection, but the questionnaire was based on eliciting responses, which would explain the reasons why participants no longer attended the resistance training program.

The questionnaire included participant demographics eg, age, sex, area lived in, self-reported physical and mental health, and number of prescribed medications taken daily , physical activity levels, why they joined resistance training and for how long including sessions per week , type of program they had attended, why they withdrew, and whether they would consider participating again in the future and, if so, why. Other questions related to how challenging they found the resistance training program, whether they noticed any physical or psychological changes due to participating, their perspectives on whether the program represented value for money, their confidence in completing sessions, support received, and motivation to participate.

A combination of open and closed questions Likert scales were utilized to avoid bias associated with checklists and to ensure opportunity for maximal responses. A copy of the survey is available from the corresponding author. The physical activity level data in the questionnaire involved using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly PASE , which is a valid and reliable tool for determining physical activity levels of older people. Descriptive statistics were generated for all quantitative data using the total sample.

The qualitative data derived from the open-ended responses were analyzed using inductive content analysis. Content analysis is a research method for making replicable and valid inferences from data in a way which can generate new insights and can inform practical actions. Responses were prepared using open coding, category creation, and abstraction. A number of categories were generated from the headings copied onto coding sheets. Two researchers EB and A-MH coded the data independently, then compared and discussed the data until they reached a consensus.

The results were then joined under higher order headings to reduce the number of categories through the collapse of like and unlike categories. Content-specific words were then added to each category. Categories with similarities were combined to make the main categories. Frequency counts were undertaken where data were grouped into subcategories. The final data were presented using participant quotes to illustrate each category.

To assist in clarifying connections among the categories, these data were concept mapped using Visio Microsoft Corporation. Concept maps are graphical tools that are used for confirming relationships among concepts and validating ideas.


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Informed consent was assumed by the completion and return of the questionnaire. The mean age of respondents was The mean PASE score for the group was Given the PASE norms for 70—75 year olds are males: Over half Only 8. During the initial 4 months, most respondents attended class once Many respondents attended a group session Only 7. Twelve percent described themselves as neither motivated nor not motivated neutral and 8.

The majority of respondents felt that they were given more than adequate Comments on where improvement could occur included:. Respondents were asked to rate the adequacy of the information provided about safety while they were participating in the resistance training program. There were initially 70 reasons given by respondents as to why they withdrew. Injury Table 1 shows the main categories, subcategories, and some example quotes from respondents. There were many reasons for discontinuing, and 22 of the 56 questionnaire respondents The three most commonly reported reasons within the subcategories for withdrawing included illness, holidays, and the program not being suitable.

Strength Training for Older Adults

Cost was only reported by two participants. Over three quarters of the respondents thought that the resistance training program was good Only 36 respondents Class time and places available within preferred classes were the most commonly identified negative aspects of the resistance training programs. Waiting for machines and equipment issues were also highlighted as well as poor staff support and the program not satisfying the participants.

Table 2 shows the main categories, subcategories, and participant quotes of the most commonly reported negative aspects of participating in a resistance program. The data were concept mapped to understand the flow of participation and withdrawal from the respondents Figure 1.

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This showed that there were several reasons why withdrawal occurred and there are opportunities to have older people participate again in the future. The map demonstrates the importance of the staff and facility in maintaining participation for this age group.


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  4. The reasons given by those not interested in returning were time, not suitable, boring waiting for machine and no interaction , cost, attending gym elsewhere, and not interested. Other reasons provided by individual respondents included the following:. The reasons why respondents would return were similar to those described above, with additional reasons including: because I can or I am able to and if a class is available. The respondents in this study stopped attending resistance training programs for a number of reasons.

    Growth Hormone Levels in Sarcopenia

    Most commonly reported reasons were the result of injury or illness, going away on holidays, and issues at the facility eg, class not available including type, age range, and times; waiting for machines; and poor staff support. Previous research that explored the barriers preventing older people participating in resistance training and exercise, in general, also found injury and pain to be common reasons for nonparticipation, together with feeling too old and not being interested.

    It is unknown how many of the injuries occurred due to taking part in resistance training or for some other reason, such as falling downstairs on holiday. However, regardless of the reason and depending on the injury and also illness which was the second most common response , it may be possible for the older person to still attend either immediately following the injury or illness or after a period of time but be given a modified program to accommodate any new exercise constraints associated with their injury or recovery.

    Illness for an older person can often make it difficult to bounce back and for some continuing with activities of daily living and living independently becomes challenging. Fitness center and other health professionals should be aware that this may occur and provide regular advice, support, and referral to the appropriate health professional. It is also recommended that facilities provide screening for past injuries to reduce the likelihood of previous injuries reoccurring.


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    • Why do seniors leave resistance training programs?.

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    What are the benefits of exercise for older adults?

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    Why do seniors leave resistance training programs?

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    This is especially important for people with cardiovascular disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, pulmonary disease like asthma, and rheumatologic disease like arthritis. A article by aging and exercise experts based in Italy and Australia provides some general principles for older adults who want to start a resistance training program reference, Resistance Training and Sarcopenia, Giallauria F, et al. Strength training is the best way to reverse the effects of aging and sarcopenia. Kerry Kuehl, M.

    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults
    Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults

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