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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2012 May-Jun;54(3):399-414. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2011.04.018. Epub 2011 May 23.

Lower limb muscle strength (LLMS): why sedentary life should never start? A review.

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VU University, Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Aging coincides with a decline in LLMS. Preserving LLMS may be considered a very important determinant of functional independence in the elderly. To maintain LLMS the question arises whether habitual physical activities (HPA) can prevent a decline in LLMS. This review aims to determine the relationship between HPA throughout life and LLMS above age 50. Using relevant databases and keywords, 70 studies that met the inclusion criteria were reviewed and where possible, a meta-analysis was performed. The main findings are: (1) the present level of HPA is positively related to LLMS; (2) HPA in the past has little effect on present LLMS; (3) HPA involving endurance have less influence on LLMS compared to HPA involving strength; (4) people with a stable habitually physically active life are able to delay a decline in LLMS. In conclusion, to obtain a high amount of LLMS during aging, it is important to achieve and maintain a high level of HPA with mainly muscle-strengthening activities.

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