PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN OLDER ADULTS
While regular physical activity has been shown to positively impact health and physical functioning across all age groups an active lifestyle may in particular have beneficial effects in advanced age. The objective of this article is to provide a brief overview of a contemporary research on the benefits of physical activity for psychological health and quality of life in the elderly. Older adults are more vulnerable than other age groups regarding mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. Many cross-sectional and experimental studies discussed in the article confirm the importance of a physically active lifestyle for preventing or reducing mental health problems and improving the quality of life among elderly people.
Ainsworth, B. E., Bassett, D. R., Strath, S. J., Swartz, A. M., O'Brien, W. L., Thompson, R., … Kimsey, C. D. (2000). Comparison of three methods for measuring the time spent in physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(S9), S457-464.
Arent, S. M., Landers, D. M., & Etnier, J. L. (2000). The effects of exercise on mood in older adults: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 8(4), 407-430. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.8.4.407
Austin, J., Williams, R., Ross, L., Moseley, L., & Hutchison, S. (2005). A randomized controlled trial of cardiac rehabilitation in elderly patients with heart failure. European Journal of Heart Failure, 7, 411-417. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejheart.2004.10.004
Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Garbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clinical Psychology Review, 8(1), 77-100. https://doi.org/10.1016/0272-7358(88)90050-5
Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bajaj, R. R., Silver, M. A., Mitchell, M. S., & Alter, D. A. (2015). Sedentary time and its association with risk for disease incidence, mortality, and hospitalization in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2), 123-132. https://doi.org/10.7326/M14-1651
Blumenthal, J. A., Babyak, M. A., Moore, K. A., Craighead, W. E., Herman, S., Khatri, P. et al. (1999). Effects of exercise training on older patients with major depression. Archives of Internal Medicine, 159(19), 2349-2356. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.159.19.2349
Blumenthal, J. A., Smith, P. J., & Hoffman, B. M. (2012). Is exercise a viable treatment for depression? ACSM's health & fitness journal, 16(4), 14-21. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.FIT.0000416000.09526.eb
Bowling, A. (2005). Ageing well. Quality of life in older age. New York: Open University Press.
Bridle, C., Spanjers, K., Patel, S., Atherton, N. M., & Lamb, S. E. (2012). Effect of exercise on depression severity in older people: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. British Journal of Psychiatry, 201(3), 180-185. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.111.095174
Brooks, R., & de Charro, F. (1996). EuroQol: the current state of play. Health Policy, 37(1), 53-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/0168-8510(96)00822-6
Cho, J., Martin, P., Margrett, J., MacDonald, M., & Poon, L. W. (2011). The relationship between physical health and psychological well-being among oldest-old adults. Journal of Aging Research, 60504. https://doi.org/10.4061/2011/605041
Chodzko-Zajko, W., Proctor, D. N., Fiatarone Singh, M. A., Minson, C. T., Nigg, C. R., Salem, G. J., & Skinner, J. S. (2009). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(7), 1510-1530. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181a0c95c
Choi, M., Lee, M., Lee, M. J., & Jung, D. (2017). Physical activity, quality of life and successful ageing among community-dwelling older adults. International Nursing Review, 64(3), 396-404. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12397
Colcombe, S., & Kramer, A. F. (2003). Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults: a meta-analytic study. Psychological Science, 14(2), 125-130. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9280.t01-1-01430
Conn, V. S. (2010). Depressive Symptom Outcomes of Physical Activity Interventions: Meta-analysis Findings. Annals of Behavioral Medicine: A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 39(2), 128-138. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-010-9172-x
Crone, D., Smith, A., & Gough, B. (2009). The physical activity and mental health relationship – a contemporary perspective from qualitative research. Acta Gymnica, 36(3), 29-35.
Daskalopoulou, C., Stubbs, B., Kralj, C., Koukounari, A., Prince, M., & Prina, A. M. (2017). Physical activity and healthy ageing: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies. Ageing Research Reviews, 38, 6-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2017.06.003
DeBoer, L. B., Powers, M. B., Utschig, A. C., Otto, M. W., & Smits, J. A. (2012). Exploring exercise as an avenue for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Expert review of neurotherapeutics, 12(8), 1011-1022. https://doi.org/10.1586/ern.12.73
Deslandes, A., Moraes, H., Ferreira, C., Veiga, H., Silveira, H., Mouta, R., ... Laks, J. (2009). Exercise and mental health: many reasons to move. Neuropsychobiology, 59, 191-198. https://doi.org/10.1159/000223730
Dishman, R. K., & O’Connor, P. J. (2009). Lessons in exercise neurobiology: the case of endorphins. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2(1), 4-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2009.01.002
Dyrstad, S. M., Hansen, B. H., Holme, I. M., & Anderssen, S. A. (2014). Comparison of self reported versus accelerometer-measured physical activity. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(1), 99-106. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a0595f
Earnest, C. P., Johannsen, N. M., Swift, D. L., Lavie, C. J, Blair, S. N., & Church, T. S. (2013). Dose-effect of cardiorespiratory exercise on metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women. American Journal of Cardiology, 111(12), 1805–1811. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2013.02.037
Fleg, J. L. (2012). Aerobic exercise in the elderly: a key to successful ageing. Discovering Medicine, 13(70), 223-228.
Flynn, K. E., Piña, I. L., Whellan, D. J., Lin, L., Blumenthal, J. A., Ellis, S. J., ... Weinfrut, K. P. (2009). Effects of exercise training on health status in patients with chronic heart failure: HF-ACTION randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 301(14), 1451-1459. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2009.457
Fox, K. R., Stathi, A., McKenna, J., & Davis, M. G. (2007). Physical activity and mental well-being in older people participating in the Better Ageing Project. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 100(5), 591-602. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-007-0392-0
Gajewski, P. D., & Falkenstein, M. (2016). Physical activity and neurocognitive functioning in aging – a condensed updated review. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity,13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s11556-016-0161-3
Gill, D. L., Hammond, C. C., Reifsteck, E. J., Jehu, C. M., Williams, R. A., Adams, M. M., … Shang, Y.-T. (2013). Physical Activity and Quality of Life. Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, 46(Suppl 1): S28-S34. https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.2013.46.S.S28
Green, C. P., Porter, C. B., Bresnahan, D. R., & Spertus J. A. (2000). Development and evaluation of the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire: a new health status measure for heart failure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 35(5), 1245-1255. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0735-1097(00)00531-3
Jenkinson, C., Chandola, T., Coulter, A., & Bruster, S. (2001). An assessment of the construct validity of the SF-12 summary scores across ethnic groups. Journal of Public Health Medicine, 23(3), 187-194.
Joshi, S., Mooney, S. J., Kennedy, G. J., Benjamin, E. O., Ompad, D., Rundle, A. G. et al. (2016). Beyond METs: types of physical activity and depression among older adults, Age and Ageing, 45(1), 103-109. https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afv164
King, A. C., & King, D. K. (2010). Physical activity for an aging population. Public health reviews, 32(2), 401-426. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03391609
Kokkinos, P. (2012). Physical activity, health benefits, and mortality risk. Cardiology, 718789. https://doi.org/10.5402/2012/718789
Lee, H., Lee, J.-A., Brar, J. S., Rush, E. B., & Jolley, C. J. (2014). Physical activity and depressive symptoms in older adults. Geriatric Nursing , 35(1), 37-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2013.09.005
Linden, M., Borchelt, M., Barnow, S., & Geiselman, B. (1995). The impact of somatic morbidity on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale in the Very Old. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 92(2), 150-154. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.1995.tb09559.x
Lindwall, M., Rennemark, M., Halling, A., Berglund J., & Hassmén, P. (2007). Depression and exercise in elderly men and women: findings from the Swedish national study on aging and care. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 15(1), 41-55. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.15.1.41
Litwin, H., & Shiovitz-Ezra, S. (2011). Social network type and subjective well-being in a national sample of older Americans. The Gerontologist, 51(3), 379-388. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnq094
Loprinzi, P. D. (2013). Objectively measured light and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is associated with lower depression levels among older US adults. Aging & Mental Health, 17(7), 801-805. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2013.801066
Lubans, D., Richards, J., Hillman, C., Faulkner, G., Beauchamp, M., Nilsson, M. et al. (2016). Physical activity for cognitive and mental health in youth: a systematic review of mechanisms. Pediatrics, 138(3) e20161642. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-1642
Martin, A., Rief, W., Klaiberg, A., & Braehler, E. (2006). Validity of the brief patient health questionnaire mood scale (PHQ-9) in the general population. General Hospital Psychiatry, 28(1), 71-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2005.07.003
Matta Mello Portugal, E., Cevada, T., Sobral Monteiro, R. Jr, Teixeira Guimarães, T., da Cruz Rubini, E., Lattari, E., ... Camaz Deslandes, A. (2013). Neuroscience of Exercise: From Neurobiology Mechanisms to Mental Health. Neuropsychobiology, 68(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1159/000350946
McAuley, E., Mullen, S. P., Szabo, A. N., White, S. M., Wójcicki, T. R., Mailey, E. L., ... Kramer, A. F. (2011). Self-regulatory processes and exercise adherence in older adults: executive function and self-efficacy effects. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41(3), 284-290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2011.04.014
McPhee, J. S., French, D. P., Jackson, D., Nazroo, J., Pendleton, N., & Degens, H. (2016). Physical activity in older age: perspectives for healthy ageing and frailty. Biogerontology, 17(3), 567-80. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10522-016-9641-0
Meléndez-Ortega, A. (2007). Osteoporosis, falls and exercise. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 4(2), 61–70. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11556-007-0027-9
Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, 48-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.09.003
Mochcovitch, M. D., Deslandes, A. C., Freire, R. C., Garcia, R. F., & Nardi, A. E. (2016). The effects of regular physical activity on anxiety symptoms in healthy older adults: a systematic review. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 38(3), 255-261. https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2015-1893
Mora, F. (2013). Successful brain aging: plasticity, environmental enrichment, and lifestyle. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 15(1), 45-52.
Mudrak, J., Stochl, J., Slepicka, P., & Elavsky, S. (2016). Physical activity, self-efficacy, and quality of life in older Czech adults. European Journal of Ageing, 13(1), 5-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-015-0352-1
Mummery, W. K., Schofield, G., & Caperchione, C. (2004). Physical Activity Dose Response Effects on Mental Health Status in Older Adults. Australia New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 28(2), 180-184. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-842X.2004.tb00934.x
Murtagh, E., Murphy, M., Murphy, N., Woods, C., & Lane, A. (2014). Physical activity, ageing, and health. Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland. Belfast, Ireland.Retrieved from http://www.cardi.ie/sites/default/files/publications/
Musich, S., Wang, S. S., Hawkins, K., & Greame, C. (2017). The frequency and health benefits of physical activity for older adults. Population Health Management, 20(3), 199-207. https://doi.org/10.1089/pop.2016.0071
Netz, Y., Wu, M. J., Becker, B. J., & Tenenbaum, W. (2005). Physical activity and psychological well-being in advanced age: a meta-analysis of intervention studies. Psychology and Aging, 20(2), 272-284. https://doi.org/10.1037/0882-79126.96.36.1992
Parker, S. J., Strath, S. J., & Swartz, A. M. (2008). Physical Activity Measurement in older adults: Impact on observation of relationships with mental health. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 16(4), 369-380.
Peluso, M. A., & Andrade, L. H. (2005). Physical activity and mental health: the association between exercise and mood. Clinics, 60(1), 61-70. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1807-59322005000100012
Penninx, B. W., Rejeski, W. J., Pandya, J., Miller, M. E., Di Bari, M., Applegate, W. B., & Pahor, M. (2002). Exercise and depressive symptoms: a comparison of aerobic and resistance exercise effects on emotional and physical function in older persons with high and low depressive symptomatology. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, 57(2), P124-132.
Phillips, S. M., Wójcicki, T. R., & McAuley, E. (2013). Physical activity and quality of life in older adults: An 18-month panel analysis. Quality of Life Research, 22(7), 1647-1654. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-012-0319-z
Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurements, 1(3), 385-401. https://doi.org/10.1177/014662167700100306
Rector, T. S., Kubo, S. H., & Cohn, J. N. (1993). Validity of the Minnesota living with heart failure questionnaire as a measure of therapeutic response to enalapril or placebo. American Journal of Cardiology, 7(12), 1106-1107. https://doi.org/10.1016/0002-9149(93)90582-W
Reiner, M., Niermann, C., Jekauc, D., & Woll, A. (2013). Long-term health benefits of physical activity – a systematic review of longitudinal studies. BMC Public Health, 13, 813. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-813
Rejski, W. J., & Mihalko, S. L. (2001). Physical activity and quality of life in older adults. The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences, 56(S2), 23-35. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/56.suppl_2.23
Shaw, D., Gorely, T., & Corban, R. (2005). Sport and exercise psychology. New York: BIOS Scientific Publishers.
Silveira, H., Moraes, H., Oliveira, N., Coutinho, E. S., Laks, J., & Deslandes, A. (2013). Physical Exercise and Clinically Depressed Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Neuropsychobiology, 67, 61-68. https://doi.org/10.1159/000345160
Stubbe, J. H., de Moor, M. H., Boomsma, D. I., & de Geus, E. J. (2007). The association between exercise participation and well-being: A co-twin study. Preventive Medicine, 44(2), 148-152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.09.002
Taylor, A. H., Cable, N. T., Faulkner, G., Hillsdon, M., Narici, M., & Van Der Bij, A. K. (2004). Physical activity and older adults: a review of health benefits and the effectiveness of interventions. Journal of Sports Science, 22(8), 703-725. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410410001712421
Toups, M. S., Greer, T. L., Kurian, B. T., Grannemann, B. D., Carmody, T. J., ...Trivedi, M. H. (2011). Effects of serum brain derived neurotrophic factor on exercise augmentation treatment of depression. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(10), 1301-1306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.05.002
Vagetti, G. C., Barbosa Filho, V. C., Moreira, N. B., de Oliveira, V., Mazzardo, O., & de Campos, W. (2014). Association between physical activity and quality of life in the elderly: a systematic review, 2000-2012. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 36(1), 76-88. https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2012-0895
Warburton, D. E. R., & Bredin, S. S. D. (2017). Health benefits of physical activity: a systematic review of current systematic reviews. Current Opinion in Cardiology, 32(5), 541-556. https://doi.org/10.1097/HCO.0000000000000437
Washburn, R. A., McAuley, E., Katula, J., Mihalko, S. L., & Boileau, R. A. (1999). The physical activity scale for the elderly (PASE): evidence for validity. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 52(7), 643-651. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0895-4356(99)00049-9
Watanabe, E., Takeshima, N., Okada, A., & Inomata, K. (2000). Comparison of water- and land-based exercise in the reduction of state anxiety among older adults. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 91(1), 97-104. https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.2000.91.1.97
World Health Organization (2015). Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health Physical Activity and Older Adults. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_olderadults/en/
World Health Organization (2016). Mental health of older adults Key facts. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-of-older-adults
Wrosch, C., Schult, R., Miller, G. E., Lupien, S., & Dunne, E. (2007). Physical health problems, depressive mood, and cortisol secretion in old age: Buffer effects of health engagement control strategies. Health Psychology, 26(3), 341-349. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-6188.8.131.521
Copyright (c) 2019 Petra Dolenc, Mojca Petrič
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Open Access Policy and Copyright
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivs license (CC BY-NC-ND) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors grant the publisher commercial rights to produce hardcopy volumes of the journal for sale to libraries and individuals.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal’s published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.