Advancing adult age is associated with profound changes in body composition. One of the most prominent of these changes is sarcopenia, defined as the age-related loss in skeletal muscle mass, which results in decreased strength and aerobic capacity and thus functional capacity. Sarcopenia is also closely linked to age-related losses in bone mineral, basal metabolic rate and increased body fat content. Through physical exercise and training, especially resistance training, it may be possible to prevent sarcopenia and the remarkable array of associated abnormalities, such as type II diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, osteoporosis and obesity. Using an exercise program of sufficient frequency, intensity and duration, it is quite possible to increase muscle strength and endurance at any age. There is no pharmacological intervention that holds a greater promise of improving health and promoting independence in the elderly than does exercise.