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J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2018 May;19(5):378-383. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2018.02.003. Epub 2018 Mar 24.

Physical Activity and Sarcopenia in the Geriatric Population: A Systematic Review.

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School of Nursing, National Yang Ming University, Taipei City, Taiwan (ROC).
School of Nursing, National Yang Ming University, Taipei City, Taiwan (ROC); Tungs' Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan (ROC). Electronic address:
Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan (ROC).
Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan (ROC).



Sarcopenia is an aging-related health problem in the geriatric population. Sarcopenia reduces muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance. Although physical activity is protective against sarcopenia for older adults, there are limited studies in this area. The purpose of this study was to integrate and analyze research on physical activity and sarcopenia in the geriatric population.


Studies that assess sarcopenia were searched across electronic databases that included Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Studies that implemented physical activity-related intervention or research were included. A critical appraisal skills program was used for quality assessment of the selected articles. Study selection and data extraction were counted by 2 independent reviewers.


Of the 149 references identified through the database search, 10 studies were included in this systematic review. Seven studies were randomized controlled trials, and 3 were cross-sectional or longitudinal. The results of 8 studies indicated significant improvement in muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance through exercise intervention, as determined by long-term observation.


Physical activity is an effective protective strategy for sarcopenia. Most studies of older adults exercise intervention indicated that the participants achieved positive results, but maintenance of muscle strength appeared to depend on continuous implementation of certain types of physical activities. A limitation of these 10 reviewed studies was that there was no consistency in the measurement of sarcopenia. Therefore, sarcopenia measurement needs further investigation.


Sarcopenia; geriatric; physical activity

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