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Skeletal Muscle Power: A Critical Determinant of Physical Functioning in Older Adults

Reid, Kieran F.; Fielding, Roger A.

Exercise & Sport Sciences Reviews: January 2012 - Volume 40 - Issue 1 - p 4–12
doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e31823b5f13
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Muscle power declines earlier and more precipitously with advancing age compared with muscle strength. Peak muscle power also has emerged as an important predictor of functional limitations in older adults. Our current working hypothesis is focused on examining lower extremity muscle power as a more discriminant variable for understanding the relationships between impairments, functional limitations, and resultant disability with aging.

This article emphasizes that skeletal muscle power impairments are critical physiological determinants of physical functioning and mobility limitations among older adults.

Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA

Address for correspondence: Roger A. Fielding, Ph.D., Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111 (E-mail: roger.fielding@tufts.edu).

Accepted for publication: September 19, 2011.

Associate Editor: John P. Kirwan, Ph.D., FACSM

©2012 The American College of Sports Medicine