Health Advice



The secret of optimal physical functioning? Fast up, slow down

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

As you age you may slow down -- whether it is from obesity, arthritis, declining muscle mass or chronic health problems. But whatever the cause, it's generally agreed that it is not a good thing. Except ... it turns out that a "slow down" is a great technique when it's part of a power training routine.

A meta-study in Geriatrics looked at 20 randomized studies to see whether strength training (lifting and lowering weights under control) or power training (lifting weights fast and lowering them slowly with control) is the best way to improve physical function for folks ages 65 plus.

The researchers from the U.S., U.K. and Canada found that if you move the weight as fast as possible in the lifting (contracting) phase and then slowly, with control, lower it as you extend your limb (say, for a count of three), you gain improved physical functioning, and you see improved muscle mass, gait speed and balance that's equal to what's achieved with strength training.

This echoes a 2017 study that found that when people with Type 2 diabetes do low-load, high-velocity power training for six weeks, they gain muscle strength, power output and improved physical function.

This form of low-load, high-velocity resistance training can be done using weight machines at the gym, hand weights (keep 'em light) or even stretchy bands. So if you're trying to stay strong and agile, it's time to try the benefits of a slow down-fast up routine. I recommend two to three 30-minute sessions a week.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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