Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do Muscles Atrophy with Age? It's More Like "Use It or Lose It"

For those of us Masters worried that aging invariably concludes muscle deterioration, there's some good news from an interesting new study put out by Dr. Vonda Wright and her colleagues. The goal of the study was to examine whether the changes that are commonly associated with muscle aging reflect the true physiology of muscle aging or whether they reflect disuse atrophy. They studied 40 Masters athletes from the age of 40 to 81, and found a surprising lack of muscle loss when comparing active adults at either end of the age spectrum. Non-active adults, however, had significant muscle atrophy. The pictures speak a thousand words.

Note that the 40-year-old triathlete and 70-year-old triathlete have similar muscle make up. And that one in the middle? Put that on your fridge for a little exercise motivation. ;-) Basically, you "use it or lose it" when it comes to muscle atrophy. Add that to this study that says older runners remain economical in their use of oxygen, and it explains why we have 90+ year old super stars like Francis Albaugh and Fauja Singh.

Pretty amazing.

- SD

PS - See you at Woodside this Saturday?!? Inside Trail Racing will be hosting an event, and I'll be running the course backwards to get photos of y'all. BTW, if you're wondering where the pic at the top of my blog comes from, you'll see it on the course on the final few miles.

Still a few spots...click on the link below to get signed up!

Mar 24
Woodside Ramble10K, Half Marathon,
36K, 50K
Huddart County ParkWoodside, CA
Mar 31
Redwood Peak10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50K
Redwood Regional ParkOakland, CA
Apr 14
Knickerbocker Canyon5K, 10K,
Half Marathon
Auburn S.R.A.Cool, CA
Apr 28
Folsom Lake10K, Half Marathon,
Marathon, 50K
Folsom PointFolsom, CA
May 6
Big Trees10K, Half Marathon,
30K, 50K
Joaquin Miller ParkOakland, CA
May 26
China Camp5K, 10K,
Half Marathon
China Camp S.P.San Rafael, CA
Jun 16
Pacifica Foothills5K, 10K, Half Marathon,
San Pedro Valley ParkPacifica, CA


  1. Wow! The proof is in the pics. I read once "If it's physical, it's therapy."

  2. Those are some crazy pictures. Even if they're extremes in each direction, it's compelling.

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  5. I just signed up for the Woodside 50K, which is pretty crazy seeing as how I haven't gone further than 7 miles since Steep Ravine in January. I will be astonished if I don't set a course PW, but hopefully I'll finish. See you there!

  6. Wow! That was amazing facts you got in this blog. A lot of events are still coming, you might consider buying a running watch guys. We will help you choose the best watch for your needs at www.runningwatchreview.com. We offer reviews featuring all you need to know in a running watch (distance watch, GPS watch and Pulse watch for an instance). Check us out!

  7. Randomly stumbled across your blog. The posts I looked at were highly insightful and reflected a ton of character. I'm adding this blog to the ones I follow. Peace.

  8. This is indeed enough proof in the pictures. Bone weakening and wasting in older people is called osteoporosis and it is mostly a deficiency disease due to lack of calcium. However, studies show that older people have increased bone diseases than younger people.

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  10. " Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
    (Dylan Thomas, 1951, Botteghe Oscure, 18-19)


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