Physical exercise and sarcopenia in older people: Position paper of the Italian Society of Orthopaedics and Medicine (OrtoMed)

Giovanni Iolascon, Gioconda Di Pietro, Francesca Gimigliano, Giulia Letizia Mauro, Antimo Moretti, Maria Teresa Giamattei, Sergio Ortolani, Umberto Tarantino, Maria Luisa Brandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sarcopenia is the age-associated loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. It is a major clinical problem for older people and research in understanding of pathogenesis, clinical consequences, management, and socioeconomic burden of this condition is growing exponentially. The causes of sarcopenia are multifactorial, including inflammation, insulin resistance, changing endocrine function, chronic diseases, nutritional deficiencies and low levels of physical activity. Operational definition of sarcopenia combines assessment of muscle mass, muscle strength and physical performance. The diagnosis of sarcopenia should be based on having a low appendicular fat free mass in combination with low handgrip strength or poor physical functioning. Imaging techniques used for estimating lean body mass are computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, bioelectrical impedance analysis and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, the latter considered as the preferred method in research and clinical use. Pharmacological interventions have shown limited efficacy in counteracting the age-related skeletal muscle wasting. Recent evidence suggests physical activity and exercise, in particular resistance training, as effective intervention strategies to slow down sarcopenia. The Italian Society of Orthopaedics and Medicine (OrtoMed) provides this position paper to present the update on the role of exercise on sarcopenia in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2014


  • Physical activity
  • Physical exercise
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine


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