Objectives: The purposes of this study were to analyze the effect of resistance training (RT) on depressive and anxiety symptomsand examine the possible consequences of age, cognitive alterations, and muscular strength on such symptoms.Method: Forty-one older women (68 ± 8 years) composed a training group (TG) or a control group (CG). The TG was submitted to a supervised, progressive RT program over 12 weeks, involving eight whole-body exercises performed with three sets of 8-12 repetitions, three days per week, whereas CG remains with no intervention for the same period. Muscular strength (one-repetition maximum tests), cognitive function (Montreal Cognitive Assessment - MoCA; Verbal Fluency Tests), depression (15-item eriatric Depression Scale - GDS-15), and anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory - BAI) were assessed before and after the intervention period.
Results: There were observed significant (P < 0.001) RT-induced improvements on total muscular strength (TG: pre = 122.4 ± 24.1/post = 134.3 ± 36.7; CG: pre = 105.4 ± 15.4/post = 99.2 ± 17.1) and MoCA (TG: pre =21.7 ± 4.5/post = 22.5 ± 4.7; CG: pre = 20.3 ± 3.7/post = 19.3 ± 4.1). Depressive and anxiety symptoms (even when adjusted by chronological age and changes in muscular strength or cognitive function) were reduced with RT according to GDS-15 (TG: pre = 2.26 ± 1.53/post = 1.92 ± 1.68; CG: pre =2.68 ± 1.13/post = 2.25 ± 1.18) and BAI (TG: pre = 4.07 ± 5.68/post = 2.33 ± 3.71; CG: pre = 5.18 ± 7.70/post = 9.81 ± 7.10). The time x group interactions were significant for depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that a 12-week RT program reduces depressive and anxiety symptoms, regardless of age, muscular strength, and cognition function in older women.
Keywords: Strength training; brain health; depression; elderly; mood.