Not just muscle strength: Muscle power also a must to enjoy a longer life

Not just muscle strength: Muscle power also a must to enjoy a longer life


By: Edsel Cook


Many people take up weightlifting to improve their muscle strength. A Brazilian-led study suggests doing muscle power exercises as well to extend their lifespans.


Muscular strength is the amount of force that a muscle can put out in a single maximal effort. It allows a person to lift a weight.


In comparison, muscle power is the ability to produce both force and velocity. It also involves the control of movement. Muscle power enables a person to lift the same weight several times in quick successions.


Researchers from Brazil’s Exercise Medicine Clinic (CLINIMEX) led efforts to measure the maximal muscle power of 3,878 non-athletes ranging from 41 to 85 years old. They divided the participants into four groups according to their muscle power level and followed them for 6.5 years on average, during which time they took note of the muscle power of the participants who died. (Related: What is your arterial age? Lower your blood pressure naturally to extend your life.)


People with high muscle power live longer

The results of the experiment indicated that participants with maximal muscle power that exceeded the median for their sex lived longer than their counterparts in groups with lower muscle power levels.


Conversely, the participants in the group with the lowest maximal muscle power faced between 10 to 13 times the risk of death when compared to those with the highest and second-highest groups. The ones in the second-lowest group showed better rates of survival, but they still ran four to five times the risk of death as the stronger people.


“Rising from a chair in old age and kicking a ball depend more on muscle power than muscle strength, yet most weight-bearing exercise focuses on the latter,” remarked CLINIMEX researcher Claudio Gil Araujo. “Our study shows for the first time that people with more muscle power tend to live longer.”


The author of the study, Araujo showed his team’s findings at a conference of the European Society of Cardiology. Their evidence supported the idea that a person may improve his health and longevity by taking up physical exercises that boost muscle power.


How to increase muscle power safely and effectively

Araujo covered several methods to increase muscle power. His first recommendation stressed the need to select a weight that is heavy for a person but not impossible to lift.


Next, the person performs one to three sets. Each set has six to eight repetitions.


For each rep, he lifts the weight as quickly as possible before slowly bringing it back down to its original position. Between each set, he takes a break.


The person must also exert care in picking weightlifting exercises for both the upper and lower parts of the body. He has to take up a different type of workout to avoid boredom and burnout.


At the same time, the person must avoid injury. If the weight proves too heavy or if the physical exercise is getting too hard, he may decrease the number of repetitions or reduce the weights.


Anyone who wants to try muscle power training must also consult with an expert before starting a new physical exercise routine. During the workout itself, he must also keep track of how it feels. If it hurts too much, it is best to stop the exercise.


Araujo explained that muscle power training required the best mix of speed and weight getting lifted or moved.


“For strength training at the gym, most people just think about the amount of weight being lifted and the number of repetitions without paying attention to the speed of execution,” Araujo explained. “But, for optimal power training results, you should go beyond typical strength training and add speed to your weight lifts.”


Check out for more information on the benefits of improving muscle power for longevity.

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