Associations between muscle strength, spirometric pulmonary function and mobility in healthy older adults

E Sillanpää, L Stenroth, A Y Bijlsma, T Rantanen, J S McPhee, T M Maden-Wilkinson, D A Jones, M V Narici, H Gapeyeva, M Pääsuke, Y Barnouin, J-Y Hogrel, G S Butler-Browne, C G M Meskers, A B Maier, T Törmäkangas, S Sipilä

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Pathological obstruction in lungs leads to severe decreases in muscle strength and mobility in patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interdependency between muscle strength, spirometric pulmonary functions and mobility outcomes in healthy older men and women, where skeletal muscle and pulmonary function decline without interference of overt disease. A total of 135 69- to 81-year-old participants were recruited into the cross-sectional study, which was performed as a part of European study MyoAge. Full, partial and no mediation models were constructed to assess the interdependency between muscle strength (handgrip strength, knee extension torque, lower extremity muscle power), spirometric pulmonary function (FVC, FEV1 and FEF50) and mobility (6-min walk and Timed Up and Go tests). The models were adjusted for age, sex, total fat mass, body height and site of enrolment. Partial mediation models, indicating both direct and pulmonary function mediated associations between muscle strength and mobility, fitted best to the data. Greater handgrip strength was significantly associated with higher FVC, FEV1 and FEF50 (p < 0.05). Greater muscle power was significantly associated with better performance in mobility tests. Results suggest that decline in mobility with aging may be caused by decreases in both muscle strength and power but also mediated through decreases in spirometric pulmonary function. Future longitudinal studies are warranted to better understand how loss of function and mass of the respiratory muscles will affect pulmonary function among older people and how these changes are linked to mobility decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9667
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aged
  • Aging/physiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forced Expiratory Volume/physiology
  • Health Status
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Motor Activity/physiology
  • Muscle Strength/physiology
  • Prognosis
  • Spirometry/methods
  • Walking/physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between muscle strength, spirometric pulmonary function and mobility in healthy older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this