The effect of resistance training on health-related quality of life in older adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Health Promot Perspect. 2019 Jan 23;9(1):1-12. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2019.01. eCollection 2019.


Background: Resistance training (RT) is recommended as part of our national physical activity guidelines which includes working all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.Older adults can gain many health benefits from RT, such as increased muscle strength,increased muscle mass, and maintenance of bone density. Additionally, certain dimensions of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) have been shown to improve in older adults due to RT intervention. The purpose of this study was to use systematic review and meta-analytic techniques to examine the effect of RT on HRQOL in older adults. Methods: A systematic review of current studies (2008 thru 2017) was conducted using PubMed. Studies were included if they used a randomized controlled design, had RT as an intervention, measured HRQOL using the SF-36/12 assessment, and included adults 50+ years of age. Eight dimension scores (physical functioning, bodily pain, physical role function, general health, mental health, emotional role function, social function, and vitality) and two summary scores (physical component and mental component) were extracted. Ten meta-analyses were performed using standardized mean effect sizes and random effects models. Study quality,moderator and sensitivity analyses were conducted. Results: A total of 16 studies were included in the analyses with a mean Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) score of 4.9 (SD=1.0). Among the mental health measures, RT had the greatest effect on mental health (Effect size [ES]=0.64, 95% CI: 0.30-0.99, I2=79.7). Among the physical health measures, RT had the largest effect on body pain (ES=0.81, 95% CI: 0.26-1.35, I2=85.9).Initially, RT did not significantly affect measures of emotional role function, social function or physical role function. However, after removing a single study, RT significantly increased all HRQOL measures. Conclusion: The meta-analytic evidence presented in this research clearly supports the promotion of RT in improving HRQOL in older adults.

Keywords: Health-related quality of life; Meta-analysis; Resistance training; SF-36; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review