Marko Korhonen

University of Jyväskylä, Department of Health Sciences, Gerontology Research Centre.

Jyväskylä, Finland

Marko Korhonen


Can regular exercise slow the aging processes in muscle and bone ? International collaborative study on lifetime athletes


Scarcopenia and osteoporosis are increasing public health burdens. Their development is provoked by physical inactivity with aging. Master athletes (>35yrs) provide researchers with a unique model to elucidate the efficiency of regular exercise in preventing the age and inactivity associated deterioration in muscle and bone. This project was undertaken to increase the understanding of musculoskeletal adaptations to lifetime of sprint, endurance and strength training. The project consists of two ongoing longitudinal (Sprint study, Longitudinal field study) and one pre-existing experimental study (Strength training study).  Sprint study includes Finnish male sprinters who will be re-examined in 2012, 10 years after baseline evaluation. The aim is to verify the previous cross- sectional findings of the impact of sprint/power training on musculoskeletal properties, and to address the role of alterations in training and living habits in maintaining these characteristics.  In the Longitudinal field study, data are collected from male and female athletes during international competitions between 2004 and 2013.

The objective is to determine whether the athletes subjected to different loading patterns vary with regard to the decline in their musculoskeletal properties with age. Strength training study is a randomized and controlled trial dealing with optimization of training. This study examines whether a careful periodization and inclusion of maximal and explosive strength exercises can further improve the musculoskeletal properties in master sprinters. The effect of age on the adaptation and underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms will be addressed. The project involves international interdisciplinary collaboration in terms of material and methodology. With diverse expertise, the team can address comprehensive muscle and bone research. The project assists in creating an overall picture of musculoskeletal benefits and potential risks of different exercise modes.  Such knowledge is vital in developing effective exercise guidelines for the general population to counteract the development of musculoskeletal disorders and disability with aging.

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