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Power Training Could Benefit Older Patients

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Patients age 60 years and older could benefit from more vigorous strength training, according to the results of a recently published meta-analysis.

Researchers sought to understand if physical function improved more for older patients using traditional strength training (lifting and lowering weights under control) or power training (fast weightlifting and lowering under control). The authors reviewed 20 randomized, controlled trials that enrolled a total of 566 community-living older adults from six countries (mean age, 70.1 years; 368 women).

Most trials lasted 12 weeks, with subjects working out one to three days per week. Subjects engaged in two to four sets, with intensity ranging from 40% to 70%. In many trials, investigators instructed participants to move weights “as fast or as quickly as possible” on the lifting action and two to three seconds for the lowering action. Usually, comparison groups performed similar exercises, but slower. Exercises were performed most often on resistance training machines or pneumatic machines.

“Based on low-certainty evidence, our findings suggest that [power training] was associated with an improvement in physical function and self-reported function to a greater extent than traditional strength training,” the authors concluded. “We recommend that future [power training] studies obtain larger and better-justified sample sizes, measure both performance and self-reported functional outcomes, track power during workout sessions using an objective measure, and emphasize the proper conduct and reporting of important methodological domains.”

Physical activity of any kind is vital for all patients. As reported in the May issue of Integrative Medicine Alert, an estimated 110,000 deaths could be prevented every year in the United States if adults age 40 to 85 years committed to a 10-minute daily increase in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. For older patients, committing to more physical activity can be a difficult ask. As reported in the May issue of Clinical Cardiology Alert, investigators tried to measure exercise capacity for men and women older than age 75 years.

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Integrative Medicine Alert and Internal Medicine Alert.