Professor Claudio Gil Araújo, who is the director of research and education at Exercise Medicine Clinic — CLINIMEX in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, led the new study.
Muscle power differs from muscle strength in that it relies on generating force and velocity while coordinating movement. For example, lifting a weight one time requires strength, but lifting it several times as quickly as possible requires power.
The study involved 3,878 nonathlete participants who were 41 to 85 years old. Each participant took a maximal muscle power test between 2001 and 2016 using an upright row exercise.
The researchers determined each participant’s maximal muscle power by taking the highest value that they achieved over two or three attempts with increasing weight and then calculating the power exertion per kilogram of body weight.
They then separated the participants into quartiles according to their maximal muscle power, with quartile one being low and quartile four being high. They also analyzed the participants separately based on their sex.
The team followed the participants for an average of 6.5 years after this initial measurement, during which time, 247 men and 75 women died. The researchers found that those who had maximal muscle power above the median for their sex had higher survival rates than those in the lower quartiles.