Posted on Jan 01, 2014, 6 a.m.
Regular exercise in middle age protects against muscle weakness, later in life.
A cross-sectional study involving 1,000 elderly Japanese men and women reports that exercising in middle age is a protective factor against sarcopenia (age-related muscle weakness), and effective in maintaining muscle strength and physical performance as one ages. Among the study subjects, who were enrolled in the Research on Osteoarthritis/Osteoporosis Against Disability (ROAD) Study, the Tokyo University investigators observed that sarcopenia was prevalent in 13.8% of men and 12.4% in the women, and tended to be significantly higher with increasing age in both sexes. Exercise in middle age correlated with a lower prevalence of sarcopenia in older age, and was significantly associated with grip strength, gait speed, and one-leg standing time. The study authors report that: "This cross-sectional study suggests that exercise habit in middle age is a protective factor against sarcopenia in older age and effective in maintaining muscle strength and physical performance in older age.”
Akune T, Muraki S, Oka H, Tanaka S, Kawaguchi H, Nakamura K, Yoshimura N. “Exercise habits during middle age are associated with lower prevalence of sarcopenia: the ROAD study.” Osteoporos Int. 2013 Oct 22.