MSc Tiia Kekäläinen defended her doctoral dissertation in Gerontology and Public Health “Leisure activities and well-being in midlife and older age: with special reference to physical activity and resistance training”. The opponent was Professor Ossi Rahkonen (University of Helsinki) and Custos Research Director Katja Kokko (University of Jyväskylä).
Participation in leisure activities is related to better well-being. Participation in leisure time physical activity also has several positive effects on functional capacity and health. Notwithstanding, only a minor proportion of adults, including older adults, participate in physical activity at a sufficient level for maintaining or improving their health. This study investigated both crosssectional and longitudinal associations between different types of leisure and physical activities and well-being.
This dissertation is based on data from three research projects: the Finland 2014 – Consumption and Lifestyle postal survey, conducted with a random sample representative of the Finnish adult population (n=1354); data collected at ages 42 and 50 (n=303) as part of the Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development; and the Minimum Resistance Training Frequency study, which was a randomized controlled trial including a ninemonth supervised resistance training program for older adults aged 65-75 (n=104). Leisure activities and well-being were measured by self-report questionnaires.
The cross-sectional results showed that, in general, leisure activities and leisure time physical activity were related to better current well-being in midlife and older age. The longitudinal results, in turn, showed that higher mental well-being predicted later participation in leisure time physical activity in midlife, not vice versa. The resistance training intervention improved some components of well-being and some exercise-related motivational and volitional characteristics among older adults. Moreover, improvements in these motivational and volitional characteristics predicted later participation in resistance training.
This research indicates that the associations between leisure activities including leisure time physical activity and well-being are complex. More attention should be paid to well-being and motivational characteristics as predictors of physical activity.
The dissertation is published in JYU dissertations, no 56, ISSN 2489-9003, ISBN 978-951-39-7677-4 (PDF). Link to the thesis.
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