Strength training and older women: a cross-sectional study examining factors related to exercise adherence

J Aging Phys Act. 2010 Apr;18(2):201-18. doi: 10.1123/japa.18.2.201.


Background: Despite the recognized health benefits, few older women participate in strength-training exercises.

Methods: The purpose of this study was to examine factors related to older women's adherence to strength training after participation in the StrongWomen Program, a nationally disseminated community program. Adherence was defined as > or =4 months of twice-weekly strength training. Surveys were sent to 970 program participants from 23 states and to participants' corresponding program leaders. Five-hundred fifty-seven participants responded (57%).

Results: Of respondents who completed surveys (527), 79% (415) adhered to strength training; adherers reported a mean of 14.1 +/- 9.1 months of strength training. Logistic-regression analysis revealed that exercise adherence was positively associated with age (p = .001), higher lifetime physical activity levels (p = .045), better perceived health (p = .003), leader's sports participation (p = .028), and leader's prior experience leading programs (p = .006).

Conclusion: These data lend insight to factors that may be related to exercise adherence among midlife and older women.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Resistance Training / organization & administration*
  • Socioeconomic Factors