The Role of Power Training for the Aging Adult
It is relatively common knowledge amongst fitness professionals that both muscle mass and strength decline with age. What is often less emphasized is the loss of muscular power at a faster and disproportionate rate, when compared to muscle size and/or strength. Our guest in episode #91 Dr. Joseph Signorile has spent a career researching ways to mitigate loss of power in the aging adult population, at his research lab at the University of Miami. His findings are very encouraging, suggesting that aging adults can improve their power output, and thereby functional capacity, as they age.
In this episode Dr. Signorile reminds us muscular power is “the rate at which one can produce strength.” The greater the rate (or speed) of strength production, the greater the power. As we’ll discuss in this episode, having adequate power is associated with a whole host of functional abilities that decline with age such as gait, standing up from a chair, or preventing a fall.
In this practical discussion, Dr. Signorile outlines the findings of over three decades of research on how to effectively improve power output in aging adults. We will cover important fundamentals of safe and effective exercise prescription for the aging adult; such as proper progression/periodization, appropriate loading, and the different modalities that can be used for training power. America will have more people over the age of 65, than under the age of 18, by 2035. Given that, this is clearly an important area for fitness professionals to become educated on.
Our Guest: Dr. Joseph Signorile
Dr. Signorile is a Professor at the University of Miami Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences. He has conducted research on optimal programming of resistance training in older individuals and persons with Parkinson’s disease for over 25 years. He has over 125 refereed manuscripts and 400 national and international scientific presentations. He has been a pioneer in applying the diagnosis/ prescription model to tailor exercise for functional improvement and health in older persons, and continues to work on new technologies and training strategies for improving independence and reducing fall probability. Within the past five years, he has evolved a significant portion of his work toward applying exercise to reduce age-related cognitive decline and in developing periodization models to maximize benefits. He has chaired over 30 doctoral dissertations and been a committee member on countless others. Although he is a prolific researcher and dedicated teacher, his great avocation is bridging the gap between science and practical application as evidenced by his definitive book on aging exercise prescription entitled Bending the Aging Curve which has been translated into Cantonese, Korean and Italian.