Washington, August 18 (ANI): A study has suggested that if Popeye were to age naturally like the rest of us, he is going to need more than just big muscles to stay independent during his senior years.
Mylene Aubertin-Leheudre, PhD, a researcher at the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de geriatrie de Montreal, affiliated with Universite de Montreal, showed that when it comes to muscles and aging, the important thing is quality, not quantity.
The study looked at the relationship between functional independence and muscle mass and quality in 1219 healthy women aged 75 and older.
The analysis showed that women who maintained better muscle quality (the ratio of strength to muscle mass) also had better functional reserves, which help people maintain independence.
Women with lower muscle quality had a three to six times higher risk of developing functional impairments (e.g., difficulty walking, getting up from a chair, or climbing stairs).
Aubertin-Leheudre said that these results contradict what has been believed for a long time about muscles and aging. Many seniors, whom we often perceive as frail and fragile, can surprise us by their muscle strength. Although inevitable, age-related muscle loss (a normal process called "sarcopenia") should no longer be seen as a sign of weakness.
This study consisted in analyzing the biometric data of 1219 women aged 75 and older. The researchers assessed body composition, handgrip and knee extension strength.
Physical functions were measured with the chair stand test and gait speed test (usual and fast). Participants also had to indicate whether they experienced difficulty performing functional tasks.
Independently of muscle mass, participants with high muscle quality had low risks of functional impairment, whereas people with high muscle mass but low muscle quality had high risks of impairment.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. (ANI)