Age- and Activity-Related Differences in the Mechanisms Underlying Maximal Power Production in Young and Older Adults

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Brunel University
  • 2 West Coast University, Irvine
  • 3 University of Texas at Austin
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The purpose of this study was to examine the interactions between aging, activity levels and maximal power production during cycling. Participants were divided into younger adults (YA), older active adults (OA,) and older sedentary adults (OS). Absolute maximum power was significantly greater in YA compared with OS and OA; no differences were found between OA and OS. The age-related difference in maximum power was accompanied by greater absolute peak knee extension and knee flexion powers. Relative joint power contributions revealed both age- and activity-related differences. YA produced less relative hip extension power than older adults, regardless of activity level. The OS participants produced less relative knee flexion power than active adults, regardless of age. The results show the age-related decline in muscular power production is joint specific and that activity level can be a modifier of intersegmental coordination, which has implications for designing interventions for the aging population.

Thomas Korff is with the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, Brunel University, UK. Ann H. Newstead is with the Department of Physical Therapy, West Coast University, Irvine, CA, and with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX. Renate van Zandwijk is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX. Jody L. Jensen (Corresponding Author) is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX