Motivational characteristics and resistance training in older adults: A randomized controlled trial and 1-year follow-up

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018 Nov;28(11):2416-2426. doi: 10.1111/sms.13236. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a 9-month supervised resistance training intervention on motivational and volitional characteristics related to exercise, and whether the absolute level and/or intervention-induced change in these characteristics predict self-directed continuation of resistance training 1 year after the intervention. Community dwelling older adults aged 65-75, who did not fulfill physical activity recommendations, were randomized into resistance training intervention groups: training once- (n = 26), twice- (n = 27), three-times-a-week (n = 28) or non-training control group (n = 25). Training groups participated in supervised resistance training for 9 months: during months 1-3 all groups trained twice-a-week and then with allocated frequencies during months 4-9. Exercise-related motivation, self-efficacy, and planning were measured with questionnaires at baseline, month-3 and month-9. The continuance of resistance training was determined by interviews 6 and 12 months after the end of the intervention. The intervention improved action and coping planning as well as intrinsic motivation (group × time P < .05). During 1-year follow-up, 54% of participants did not continue self-directed regular resistance training, 22% continued regular resistance training once-a-week, and 24% twice-a-week. Increases in exercise self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation related to training during the intervention predicted continuation of resistance training twice-a-week. Resistance training improved exercise-related motivational and volitional characteristics in older adults. These improvements were linked to continuing resistance training 1 year after the supervised intervention. The role of these characteristics should be taken into account when promoting long-term resistance training participation among older adults.

Keywords: aging; exercise; motivation; physical activity; strength training; volition.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires