Aging is commonly associated with a loss of muscle mass and strength, resulting in falls, functional decline, and the subjective feeling of weakness.
Exercise modulates the morbidities of muscle aging.
Most studies, however, have examined muscle-loss changes in sedentary aging adults. This leaves the question of whether the changes that are commonly associated with muscle aging reflect the true physiology of muscle aging or whether they reflect disuse atrophy.
This study evaluated whether high levels of chronic exercise prevents the loss of lean muscle mass and strength experienced in sedentary aging adults.
A cross-section of 40 high-level recreational athletes (“masters athletes”) who were aged 40 to 81 years and trained 4 to 5 times per week underwent tests of health/activity, body composition, quadriceps peak torque (PT), and magnetic resonance imaging of bilateral quadriceps.
Mid-thigh muscle area, quadriceps area (QA), subcutaneous adipose tissue, and intramuscular adipose tissue were quantified in magnetic resonance imaging using medical image processing, analysis, and visualization software.