Date: 28 Mar 2009

Optimal health and function among the elderly: lessening severity of ADL disability

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Despite mounting evidence implicating sedentary behavior as a significant risk factor among the elderly, there is a limited amount of information on the type and amount of activity needed to promote optimal health and function in older people. Overall muscle strength and mass decline 30–50% between the ages of 30 and 80. The loss of muscle mass accounts for most of the observed loss of strength. The loss of muscle tissue is due to a decrease in the number of muscle fibers and to atrophy of the type II muscle fibers. The declining strength reduces the capacity to carry out basic activities of daily life and puts people at risk for falls and dependence on others. The objective of the present review is to examine the role of exercise training as a primary tool for increasing cardiopulmonary and muscular fitness in order to lessen the severity of disability in activities of daily living and to attain optimal health and functioning among the elderly.