Resistance training, sarcopenia, and the mitochondrial theory of aging

Adam P.W. Johnston, Michael De Lisio, Gianni Parise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skeletal muscle aging is associated with a significant loss of muscle mass, strength, function, and quality of life. In addition, the healthcare cost of aging and age-related disease is growing, and will continue to grow as a larger proportion of our population reaches retirement age and beyond. The mitochondrial theory of aging has been identified as a leading explanation of the aging process and describes a path leading to cellular senescence that includes electron transport chain deficiency, reactive oxygen species production, and the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA deletions and mutations. It is also quite clear that regular resistance exercise is a potent and effective countermeasure for skeletal muscle aging. In this review, we discuss age-related sarcopenia, the mitochondrial theory of aging, and how resistance exercise may directly affect key components of the mitochondrial theory. It is clear from the data discussed that regular resistance training can effectively disturb processes that contribute to the progression of aging as it pertains to the mitochondrial theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Aging
  • Electron transport chain
  • Mitochondria
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Resistance exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)


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