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Possibility of leg muscle hypertrophy by ambulation in older adults: a brief review

Authors Ozaki H, Loenneke JP, Thiebaud RS, Stager JM, Abe T

Received 9 February 2013

Accepted for publication 26 February 2013

Published 31 March 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 369—375

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S43837

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Hayao Ozaki,1 Jeremy P Loenneke,2 Robert S Thiebaud,2 Joel M Stager,3 Takashi Abe3

1Juntendo University, Inzai, Chiba, Japan; 2Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA; 3Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA

Abstract: It is known that ambulatory exercises such as brisk walking and jogging are potent stimuli for improving aerobic capacity, but it is less understood whether ambulatory exercise can increase leg muscle size and function. The purpose of this brief review is to discuss whether or not ambulatory exercise elicits leg muscle hypertrophy in older adults. Daily ambulatory activity with moderate (>3 metabolic equivalents [METs], which is defined as the ratio of the work metabolic rate to the resting metabolic rate) intensity estimated by accelerometer is positively correlated with lower body muscle size and function in older adults. Although there is conflicting data on the effects of short-term training, it is possible that relatively long periods of walking, jogging, or intermittent running for over half a year can increase leg muscle size among older adults. In addition, slow-walk training with a combination of leg muscle blood flow restriction elicits muscle hypertrophy only in the blood flow restricted leg muscles. Competitive marathon running and regular high intensity distance running in young and middle-aged adults may not produce leg muscle hypertrophy due to insufficient recovery from the damaging running bout, although there have been no studies that have investigated the effects of running on leg muscle morphology in older subjects. It is clear that skeletal muscle hypertrophy can occur independently of exercise mode and load.

Keywords: aerobic exercise, muscle mass, aging, strength, sarcopenia

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