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Power Training for Older Adults

Which is better: power training or strength training?

Power training for older adults

Experts often debate when to offer power training for older adults. A recent research review suggests that power training is linked with a modest improvement in physical function among healthy older adult participants, when compared with traditional strength training. Researchers, however, do not fully endorse it, in general, for older adults.

Investigators from Queens College, in the City University of New York, examined 20 randomized clinical trials to assess the value of power training compared to strength training since muscle power is important to functional ability and decreases more rapidly than muscle strength during aging.

While existing evidence shows better results from power training for healthy older adults, investigators noted that more high-quality and larger studies are needed for definitive conclusions. Concerns for a complete endorsement of this training method for older adults include performance abilities and/or preferences and injury risks, especially for people with cognitive impairments or very old age. Study authors recommend that benefits, harms, costs, and client values and preferences be further evaluated before physical activity guidelines include recommendations on power training for older adults.

The review is available in JAMA Network Open (2022; 5 [5], e2211623).

See also: Power Training for Older Clients

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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