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Aging leads to significant losses in muscle mass, strength, and the ability to independently perform activities of daily living (ADL). Typically, standard resistance training (RT) has been used to reduce these losses in function by maintaining or even increasing muscle strength in older adults. Increasing strength does not necessarily, however, result in an increase in the ability to perform ADL. There is now research suggesting that muscle power is more closely associated with the performance of ADL than muscle strength is, so training for muscle power might lead to more beneficial results in functional performance. This review of studies investigating the effect of training on ADL performance in older adults indicated that standard RT is effective in increasing strength in older adults, but power training that contains high-velocity contractions might be a more optimal means of training older adults when the emphasis is on increasing the performance of ADL.
Hazell is with the Kinesiology Dept., University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5B8 Canada. Kenno and Jakobi are with the Kinesiology Dept., University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario Canada.