The Influence Of Sarcopenia On Body Mass

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Sarcopenia can be defined as the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function (Waters, Baumgartner & Garry 2000; Vandervoort & Symons 2001). Although there is no specific level of lean body mass or muscle mass at which one can say sarcopenia is present (Roubenoff 2001), any loss of muscle mass is of importance because there is a strong relationship between muscle mass and strength (Roth, Ferrell & Hurley 2000). Sarcopenia appears to begin in the fourth decade of life and accelerates after the age of approximately 75 years (Waters, Baumgartner & Garry 2000). With aging and inactivity, the most atrophy is seen in the fast twitch (FT) fibers which are recruited during high-intensity, anaerobic movements. Although sarcopenia is mostly seen in physically inactive individuals, it is also evident in individuals who remain physically active throughout their lives. This finding suggests that physical inactivity is not the only contributing factor to sarcopenia. Current research is finding that the development of sarcopenia is a multifactorial process. Many factors, including physical inactivity, motor-unit remodeling, decreased hormone levels, and decreased protein synthesis, may all contribute to sarcopenia. Fortunately, sarcopenia is partly reversible with appropriate exercise interventions. This article will focus on the current perspectives of sarcopenia and conclude with the importance of resistance training in preventing it.

Motor Unit Remodeling

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