Demographics reveal that the world's population aged 60 years and older will triple from 600 million in 2000 to more 2 billion by the year 2050. To remain independent and healthy, an important factor to consider is the maintenance of skeletal muscle, as the elderly seem to become prone to a progressive loss of skeletal muscle with aging, termed sarcopenia. Interventions should focus on resistance training and optimal nutrition. Low intensity occlusion training may provide a mode of resistance training more applicable to the elderly, due to the lower loads used. Furthermore, an emphasis must be placed on high quality protein adequately distributed throughout the day to maximize protein synthesis. The use of drug therapy may be of some benefit, but it appears exercise and diet likely plays a more prominent role in the preservation of muscle mass and strength than administration of synthetic hormones.
Keywords: atrophy; blood occlusion; dietary protein; growth hormone; hypertrophy; review.