Frailty and sarcopenia are common age-related conditions associated with adverse outcomes. Physical activity has been identified as a potential preventive strategy for both frailty and sarcopenia. The authors aimed to investigate the association between physical activity and prevention of frailty and sarcopenia in people aged 65 years and older.
The authors searched for systematic reviews (January 2008 to November 2019) and individual studies (January 2010 to March 2020) in PubMed. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials and longitudinal studies that investigated the effect of physical activity on frailty and/or sarcopenia in people aged 65 years and older. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach was used to rate certainty of evidence.
Meta-analysis showed that physical activity probably prevents frailty (4 studies; frailty score pooled standardized mean difference, 0.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.43; P = .017, I2 = 57%, moderate certainty evidence). Only one trial investigated physical activity for sarcopenia prevention and did not provide conclusive evidence (risk ratio 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.10-12.19). Five observational studies showed positive associations between physical activity and frailty or sarcopenia prevention.
Physical activity probably prevents frailty among people aged 65 years and older. The impact of physical activity on the prevention of sarcopenia remains unknown, but observational studies indicate the preventive role of physical activity.