The effects of ageing and exercise on skeletal muscle structure and function

John K. Malone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Musculoskeletal ageing is associated with profound morphological and functional changes that increase fall risk and disease incidence and is characterised by age-related reductions in motor unit number and atrophy of muscle fibres, particularly type II fibres. Decrements in functional strength and power are relatively modest until the 6th decade, after which the rate of loss exponentially accelerates, particularly beyond the 8th decade of life. Physical activity is a therapeutic modality that can significantly attenuate age-related decline. The underlying signature of ageing, as manifested by perturbed redox homeostasis, leads to a blunting of acute and chronic redox regulated exercise adaptations. Impaired redox regulated exercise adaptations are mechanistically related to altered exercise-induced reactive oxygen and nitrogen species generation and a resultant failure to properly activate redox regulated signaling cascades. Despite the aforementioned specific impairment in redox signaling, exercise induces a plethora of beneficial effects, irrespective of age. There is, therefore, strong evidence for promoting regular physical exercise, especially progressive resistance training as a lifelong habitual practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSedentary lifestyle
Subtitle of host publicationpredictive factors, health risks and physiological implications
EditorsAhmad Alkhatib
Place of PublicationHauppauge, NY
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781634846837
ISBN (Print)9781634846738
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Sarcopenia
  • Atrophy
  • Reduced function
  • Redox signalling
  • Exercise interventions


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