Maximal voluntary force (strength) production declines with age and contributes to physical dependence and mortality. Consequently, a great deal of research has focused on identifying strategies to maintain muscle mass during the aging process and elucidating key molecular pathways of atrophy, with the rationale that the loss of strength is primarily a direct result of the age-associated declines in mass (sarcopenia). However, recent evidence questions this relationship and in this Green Banana article we argue the role of sarcopenia in mediating the age-associated loss of strength (which we will coin as dynapenia) does not deserve the attention it has attracted in both the scientific literature and popular press. Rather, we propose that alternative mechanisms underlie dynapenia (i.e., alterations in contractile properties or neurologic function), and urge that greater attention be paid to these variables in determining their role in dynapenia.
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