Objectives: This paper describes a videotaped, home-based, strength training program, titled Strong-for-Life and reports on its effectiveness in improving muscle strength, psychological well-being, and health status in a sample of older persons.
Design and setting: We enrolled 102 nondisabled, community-dwelling older people aged 66 to 87, identified from the Medicare beneficiary list, into a randomized, controlled trial.
Measurements: Effectiveness was based on change in isokinetic upper and lower extremity muscle strength, psychologic well-being, and health status.
Results: Results revealed several statistically significant short-term benefits after 12 to 15 weeks of exercise, especially for men. Younger older adults demonstrated a 10% improvement in knee extensor strength relative to control subjects. Older male exercisers achieved significant differences relative to controls in perceived anger, tension, and overall social functioning. Male exercisers, in general, achieved significant improvement in perceived vigor. Women did not report psychological benefits following participation in the program.
Conclusion: Study results reveal that the Strong for Life program, designed to be widely disseminated to the nondisabled older population, has many short-term positive benefits.