Planning for the future: Preventing muscle deterioration


May 27, 2010
Matthew J. Lawless

Ok, so I’m not 70 myself, but it’s still important to have a plan to keep you away from the bridge table. One of my favorite journals, The Journal of Applied Physiology, recently published an article that addresses one of the major concerns of aging, the loss of skeletal muscle mass. After testing a number of different exercise methods on different age groups, the team saw that a combination of low-intensity resistance exercise with blood flow restriction stimulated muscle protein synthesis in men of about 70 years of age.

Subjects were studied identically on two occasions: during BFR exercise {bilateral leg extension exercise at 20% of 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) with pressure cuff placed proximally on both thighs and inflated at 200 mmHg} and during exercise without the pressure cuff (Ctrl). MPS (muscle protein synthesis) and phosphorylation of signaling proteins were determined on successive muscle biopsies by stable isotopic techniques and immunoblotting, respectively. MPS increased 56% from baseline after BFR exercise (P < 0.05), while no change was observed in the Ctrl group (P > 0.05).

Whether you are part of an elderly age group or not, these findings are definitely encouraging for anyone who doesn’t have the patience to sit around in a chair all day.

Fry, C., Glynn, E., Drummond, M., Timmerman, K., Fujita, S., Abe, T., Dhanani, S., Volpi, E., & Rasmussen, B.. (2010). Blood flow restriction exercise stimulates mTORC1 signaling and muscle protein synthesis in older men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 108(5), 1199.