The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.
During adolescence, muscle function usually increases. As we continue to age, however, it starts to go down. Sarcopenia, a type of muscle weakening, is a serious concern for older adults. Researchers from Juntendo University in Japan have found that building an exercise habit during childhood may prevent the onset of this condition later in life.
“Preventing sarcopenia is an important strategy for preventing disability and the need for long-term care in the older age. By establishing the association, we can move one step closer to reducing risk factors of sarcopenia in older Japanese adults,” explains team leader Professor Yoshifumi Tamura from the Faculty of International Liberal Arts at Juntendo University.
The researchers assessed the exercise habits of 1,607 Japanese adults (679 men and 928 women), between the ages of 65 and 84, as part of the “Bunkyo Health Study.” The participants completed a health exam that included their skeletal muscle index, handgrip strength, as well as gait speed.
Results show that 6.6 percent of the men and 1.7 percent of the women had sarcopenia. Low muscle mass was present in 14.3 percent of the men and 5.2 percent of the women, while low muscle performance was common among a quarter of the men and one in five women. Additionally, in men, the odds of having sarcopenia, low muscle mass, and low muscle performance were lower in those that exercised as both adolescents and older adults. For women, the same association was seen, but only for low muscle performance.
“By creating the awareness that inculcating the habit of exercising during adolescence, people can prevent several problems in their older ages. In the long run, exercising during adolescence has the potential to improve the quality of life of the older adults by providing maintenance of their skeletal muscle function.”