Importance of lean body mass to endurance and functional capacity in the elderly

W. M. Kohrt, M. Brown, D. R. Sinacore, K. E. Yarasheski, R. J. Spina, E. B. Binder, A. A. Ehsani, J. O. Holloszy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Age-related changes in lean body mass (LBM) and maximal attainable aerobic power (VO2max) were assessed in 72 young (Y; 20-30 yr), 459 young-old (YO; 60-75 yr), and 112 old-old (OO; 78+ yr) women and men. The elderly subjects were all functionally independent. Body weight was 62±12, 70±13, and 63±13 kg in Y, YO, and OO women, respectively, and 75±10, 83±12, and 79±12 kg in Y, YO, and OO men, respectively. LBM was 47*7 kg, 42±6 kg, and 38±5 kg in Y, YO, and OO women, respectively, and 63±7 kg, 60±7 kg, and 55±5 kg in Y, YO, and OO men, respectively. VO2max was 36±5, 20±3, and 15±3 mL/min/kg in Y, YO, and OO women, respectively, and 48±5, 27±4, and 17±4 mL/min/kg in Y, YO, and OO men, respectively. VO2max (L/min) was associated with LBM (r = 0.81, p<0.001), suggesting that very low levels of LBM may limit endurance capacity of elderly women. In the OO group, LBM was a significant determinant of the ability to get up from a chair (r=0.61, p<0.01) and to ascend stairs (r=0.54, p<0.01), indicating that adequate muscle mass is necessary to perform these strength- dependent tasks. These findings suggest that strategies for increasing or at least maintaining LBM in the elderly may help to preserve the endurance and functional capacity required for independent living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A964
JournalFASEB Journal
Volume12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 20 1998

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