The Importance of Muscular Power among Community-Dwelling Older Adults

By Michelle Gray and Sally Paulson.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 13, 2014 $US5.00

Muscle atrophies with age, which often results in the inhibition of optimal contractile velocity and force production. Diminished power output negatively affects functional capacity and independence of older adults, further supporting the need for dynamic exercise training regimens in this population. However, the association of muscular power to known measures of functional fitness field tests has not been adequately studied. Twenty older adults (avg. 71.6 years) volunteered for the present investigation. All participants conducted the following physical assessments: stair ascent (muscular power), habitual walking speed (HW), 30-second chair stand (CS), and 8-foot up-and-go (UPGO). Pearson’s correlations were conducted to determine the relationship between muscular power and known measures of functional fitness among community-dwelling older adults. All three variables were significantly correlated with muscular power (p < .05). The most highly correlated variable was the 8-foot up-and-go assessment (r = -.60). However, all variables were significantly correlated (CS r = .49; HW r = .49). In addition, there was a significant difference between the high and low functioning older adults on the CS and HW. These results suggest muscular power is a major contributor to the most commonly used field tests for functional fitness with older adults. Hence, muscular power should be a targeted intervention used with older adults to increase functional fitness and independence.

Keywords: Physical Functioning, Muscular Power, Physical Independence

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, June 2014, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 456.387KB)).

Dr. Michelle Gray

Assistant Professor, Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

Dr. Sally Paulson

Associate Professor, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA, USA