Power training for older adults

Porter, Michelle M.
April 2006
Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism;Apr2006, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p87
Academic Journal
Resistance training is widely advocated for older adults to alleviate the muscle and strength loss that occurs with aging. While primary and secondary prevention of disability are often mentioned as benefits of strength training, the evidence for this is limited and inconclusive. Researchers have started to examine another form of resistance training that may prove to be more beneficial than strength training in terms of the reduction of age-related disability. Power training is being investigated because several studies have shown a stronger relationship between power and function than between strength and function. Early studies on power training suggest that neuromuscular power can be increased to a greater extent with high velocity or explosive training than strength training alone. In addition, there may be more positive effects on performance tasks measured in the laboratory, although evidence on disability reduction was very limited. Adverse events were reported in several studies, although the risk for injuries appears to be higher for testing than for training itself. Future well-designed studies on the risks and benefits of power training should provide more evidence on this promising form of resistance training for older adults of varying health and functional status.


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