Physical Activity and Psychological Resilience in Older Adults: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Author: Eliza E Toth1, Ferenc Ihász2, Roberto Ruíz-Barquín3, Attila Szabo4
1 Doctoral School of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Budapest, Hungary.
2 Faculty of Education and Psychology, Institute of Sport Science, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Szombathely, Hungary.
3 Facultad de Formación de Profesorado y Educación, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
4 Faculty of Education and Psychology, Institute of Health Promotion and Sport Sciences, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.
Conference/Journal: J Aging Phys Act
Date published: 2023 Sep 12
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1123/japa.2022-0427. , Word Count: 161

Older adults face numerous unfavorable functional changes caused by aging, but many exhibit resilience, which helps them cope with challenges. Physical activity is positively associated with resilience. Therefore, this systematic literature review aimed to uncover the relationships between physical activity and resilience in older adults. We have analyzed three freely and openly available databases: (a) PubMed/Medline, (b) ScienceDirect, and (c) Google Scholar, which yielded 20 eligible articles based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Most studies (14) were cross-sectional, three were longitudinal, and three others used mindfulness-based or endurance-enhancing physical activity interventions. Their results revealed increased resilience even after short-duration and low-frequency interventions. Cross-sectional research results also support the positive relationship between physical activity and resilience in older adults, suggesting that the relationship might depend on exercise volume. Still, further research is needed to design interventions, understand the mechanism(s) involved in altering resilience, and maximize physical activity's benefits in aging people.

Keywords: exercise; mental health; psychology; well-being.

PMID: 37699587 DOI: 10.1123/japa.2022-0427