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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008 Feb;33(1):191-9. doi: 10.1139/H07-141.

Resistance training, sarcopenia, and the mitochondrial theory of aging.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8N 3Z5.


Skeletal muscle aging is associated with a significant loss of muscle mass, strength, function, and quality of life. In addition, the healthcare cost of aging and age-related disease is growing, and will continue to grow as a larger proportion of our population reaches retirement age and beyond. The mitochondrial theory of aging has been identified as a leading explanation of the aging process and describes a path leading to cellular senescence that includes electron transport chain deficiency, reactive oxygen species production, and the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA deletions and mutations. It is also quite clear that regular resistance exercise is a potent and effective countermeasure for skeletal muscle aging. In this review, we discuss age-related sarcopenia, the mitochondrial theory of aging, and how resistance exercise may directly affect key components of the mitochondrial theory. It is clear from the data discussed that regular resistance training can effectively disturb processes that contribute to the progression of aging as it pertains to the mitochondrial theory.

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