The purpose of the present investigation was to examine (a) the effects of upper body high-intensity strength training on muscular strength, activities of daily living (ADLs), and subjective well-being within an aging population, and (b) whether changes in strength were related to subsequent changes in subjective well-being and ADLs. The main effects of the training program were significant for all five individual muscle groups examined, indicating that subjects who participated in the strength program had greater increases in muscular strength than did controls. There was limited support for the contention that strength training enhances subjective well-being and ADLs in older adults. Strength gains were related to moderate reductions in negative affect, greater satisfaction with life, and higher ADLs. Findings are discussed in terms of design and measurement improvements, the need to focus research efforts on multiple components of fitness in relation to subjective well-being, and relations among strength and ADLs in the elderly.
Shannon L. Mihalko and Edward McAuley are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois, 906 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.