Exercise as a remedy for sarcopenia

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Jan;17(1):25-31. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000018.


Purpose of review: Although prolongation of life is a significant public health aim, at the same time the extended life should involve preservation of the capacity to live independently. Consequently, the identification of cost-effectiveness interventions to prevent frailty is one of the most important public health challenges. In the present review, we present the available evidence regarding the impact of physical exercise on the components of frailty syndrome and, in particular, as a remedy for sarcopenia.

Recent findings: Resistance exercise training is more effective in increasing muscle mass and strength, whereas endurance exercises training is superior for maintaining and improving maximum aerobic power. Based on these evidences, recommendations for adult and frail older people should include a balanced program of both endurance and strength exercises, performed on a regular schedule (at least 3 days a week).

Summary: Regular exercise is the only strategy found to consistently prevent frailty and improve sarcopenia and physical function in older adults. Physical exercises increase aerobic capacity, muscle strength and endurance, by ameliorating aerobic conditioning and/or strength. In older patients, exercise and physical activity produce at least the same beneficial effects observed in younger individuals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise*
  • Frail Elderly
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Physical Endurance
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Resistance Training
  • Sarcopenia / therapy*