Impact of physical activity on the management of sarcopenia

E. D’Angelo, E. Marzetti, R. Calvani, A. Picca, M, Tosato, R, Bernabei, F. Landi

Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “Agostino Gemelli” IRCSS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy

The maintenance of muscle function in old age prevents the development of negative health outcomes. 

Physical inactivity is the primary risk factor for muscle loss and weakness and is one of the leading causes of various chronic diseases. Conversely, regular physical activity, modifies the age-related pattern of decline of muscle mass and strength and represents the most effective strategy against sarcopenia. This evidence has urged the World Health Organization to recommend regular physical activity throughout the course of the life. Resistance exercise improves muscle mass and strength while endurance training increases maximum aerobic power. Recommendations for adult and older people include combined endurance and resistance exercises, based on a regular program (at least 3 days a week).

This narrative review presents the available evidence on the beneficial effects of exercise on physical frailty and sarcopenia. We also describe the exercise protocol adopted in the “Sarcopenia and Physical fRailty IN older people: multicomponenT Treatment strategies” (SPRINTT) project. The SPRINTT clinical trial will provide evidence of physical activity and nutritional supplementations in preventing several adverse outcomes associated with sarcopenia and physical frailty in older adults.

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