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The authors examined whether resistance training has an effect on working memory span. Participants included 210 community-residing older adults with at least one disability from the Strong for Life program, a randomized controlled trial that examined the effects of home-based resistance exercise. Memory was assessed with the WAIS backward digit span at baseline and 3 and 6 months into the intervention. Although there were no differences between the experimental treatment and control groups in average levels of memory change, within the treatment group change in resistance level during the intervention was a significant predictor of memory change, controlling for age, education, sex, and disability level. The results suggest that strength training can benefit memory among older adults, especially when using higher resistance levels.
Lachman is with the Dept. of Psychology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454. Neupert is with the Dept. of Psychology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7650. Bertrand is with Health Policy and Clinical Research, Abt Associates, 55 Wheeler Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138. Jette is with the Health & Disability Research Institute, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215..