PhotoA healthy and vigorous old age may depend on how you spend your time during middle age, a new Japanese study finds.

Researchers at Tokyo University studied the effect of exercising in middle age on maintaining muscle strength and physical performance later in life.

The researchers studied the prevalence of sarcopenia, a condition associated with aging that's marked by loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. It leads to adverse outcomes including disability, poor quality of life and premature death.

The study included 1,000 elderly Japanese participants and measured such factors at their handgrip strength, walking speed and skeletal muscle mass.

Analysis showed that exercise habit in middle age was associated with low prevalence of sarcopenia in older age and was significantly associated with grip strength, gait speed, and one-leg standing time after adjusting for age, sex and body mass index. 

The prevalence of sarcopenia was 13.8% in men and 12.4% in women, and tended to be significantly higher with increasing age in both sexes.

The study was presented at a meeting of the International Osteoporosis Foundation in Hong Kong,

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