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Power to prolong independence and healthy ageing in older adults
  1. Mikel Izquierdo1,2,
  2. Eduardo Lusa Cadore3
  1. 1 Navarrabiomed, Hospital Universitario de Navarra (HUN)-Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA), IdiSNA, Pamplona, Spain
  2. 2 CIBER of Frailty and Healthy Aging (CIBERFES), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
  3. 3 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Professor Mikel Izquierdo, Department of Health Sciences, Public University of Navarre, Pamplona 31008, Spain; mikel.izquierdo{at}

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Healthy ageing requires maintaining functional ability, by optimising behaviour and creating an environment that preserves intrinsic capacity as resilience declines.1–3 A key impaired intrinsic capacity is power—the product of force and velocity. Muscle power declines substantially with ageing, impacting physical function and contributing to falls, disability and mortality.2 3 The objective of this editorial is to highlight the benefits of power training in older adults.

The overlooked potential of power training

Power training (performing fast and forceful muscle contractions) remains underused despite significant evidence of benefits across fit-to-frail spectra.4 This overlooked exercise modality holds potential to prolong independence in ageing populations.5 Age-related physiology (loss of fast-twitch fibres and accompanying neural changes) diminishes power output in ways traditional slow-velocity strength training does not address (ie, early onset of muscle force and maximal rate of force development).2 By prioritising the speed of muscle contractions, power training improves force and velocity capabilities that directly enhance function. Without targeted power training, slowness can be expected. Though evidence shows benefits across a spectrum from healthy to frail individuals, including hospitalised older patients, power training remains underused in practice.2 3 6 Why the disconnect? Unfamiliarity among clinicians and limited access to specialised equipment might well contribute.2 Concerns over injury risks may also limit adoption, despite proper precautions making power training safe. Simply put, power training lacks wider acceptance considering its significant potential.

The functional benefits of power training

We have no drugs that directly improve functional capacity or frailty.3 …

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  • Contributors Both the authors contributed equally.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.