Boštjan Šimunič, Rado Pišot, and Jörn Rittweger, Institute for Kinesiology Research, Science and Research centre of Primorska, University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia, Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health, Manchester Metropolitan, University, UK


Normal aging is characterized by muscular atrophy and a loss of force-generating capacity. The goal of
this research was to investigate the age and sport activity type on postural (vastus lateralis) and non
postural (biceps femoris) muscles’ contraction time in 170 master athletes (athletic events) and 51 non
athletes. We found significant age effect in postural muscle (P = 0.032) and also in non postural muscle
(P < 0.001). However, we found sport activity type effect significant just in non postural muscle (P <
0.001). The interaction effect of age * sport was significant in both observed muscles. Sprinters/jumpers
deteriorate with age the most in postural muscle, while non athletes in non postural muscle. We could
conclude that non postural muscle deteriorate the most without regular sport activity, while postural
muscle have enough daily stimuli to be prevented from major deterioration.

Keywords: Ageing, Skeletal muscle, Sport Activity, Tensiomyography, Athletics, Contraction time


Akima H, Kawakami Y, Kubo K, Sekiguchi C, Ohshima H, Miyamoto A, Fukunaga T. (2000) EVect
of short-duration spaceflight on thigh and leg muscle volume. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32: 1743–1747.
2. Antonutto G, Capelli C, Girardis M, Zamparo P, di Prampero PE. (1999) Effects of microgravity on
maximal power of lower limbs during very short efforts in humans. J Appl Physiol 86: 85–92.
3. Berg HE, Dudley GA, Haggmark T, Ohlsen H, Tesch PA. (1991) Effects of lower limb unloading on
skeletal muscle mass and function in humans. J Appl Physiol 70: 1882–1885.
4. Dahmane R, Valenčič V, Knez N, Eržen I. (2000). Evaluation of the ability to make non-invasive
estimation of muscle contractile properties on the basis of the muscle belly response. Med Biol Eng
Comput 39: 51-55.
5. Dahmane R, Djordjevič S, Šimunič B, Valenčič V. (2005) Spatial fiber type distribution in normal
human muscle histochemical and tensiomyographical evaluation. J Biomech 38(12): 2451-2459.
6. De Boer MD, Seynnes OR, di Prampero PE, Pišot R, Mekjavić, IB, Biolo G, Narici MV. (2008).
Effect of 5 weeks horizontal bed rest on human muscle thickness and architecture of weight bearing
and non-weight bearing muscle. Eur J Appl Physiol 104(2): 401-407.
7. Di Prampero PE, Narici MV. (2003) Muscles in microgravity: from fibres to human motion. J
Biomech 36:403–412.
8. Fiatarone MA, Marks EC, Rya, ND, Meredith CN, Lipsitz LA, Evans WJ. (1990). High-intensity
strength training in nonagenarians. Effects on skeletal muscle. JAMA; 263: 3029-3034.
Šimunić, P. et al. EQOL (2009) 19-24
9. Kubo K, Akima H, Kouzaki M, Ito M, Kawakami Y, Kanehisa H, Fukunaga T. (2000) Changes in the
elastic properties of tendon structures following 20 days bed-rest in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 83:
10. Larsson L, Grimby G, and Karlsson J. (1979). Muscle strength and speed of movement in relation to
age and muscle morphology. J Appl Physiol 46: 451–456.
11. Larsson L, Li X, Berg HE, Frontera WR. (1996) Effects of removal of weight-bearing function on
contractility and myosin isoform composition in single human skeletal muscle cells. PXugers Arch
432: 320–328.
12. LeBlanc A, Rowe R, Schneider V, Evans H, Hedrick T. (1995) Regional muscle loss after short
duration spaceflight. Aviat Space Environ Med 66: 1151–1154.
13. Lexell J, Taylor CC, and Sjöström M. (1988). What is the cause of the ageing atrophy? Total number,
size and proportion of different fiber types studied in whole vastus lateralis muscle from 15- to 83-
year-old men. J Neurol Sci 84: 275–294.
14. Maganaris CN, Reeves ND, Rittweger J, Sargeant AJ, Jones DA, Gerrits K, De Haan A. (2006)
Adaptive response of human tendon to paralysis. Muscle Nerve 33: 85–92.
15. Pišot R, Narici MV, Šimunič B, De Boer M, Seynnes O, Jurdana M et al. (2008). Whole muscle
contractile parameters and thickness loss during 35-day bed-rest. Journal of applied Physiology
104(2): 409-414.
16. Rittweger J, Kwiet A, Felsenberg D. (2004). Physical performance in aging elite athletes –
Challenging the limits of physiology. J Musculoskel Neuron Interact 4(2):159-160.
17. Runge M, Rittweger J, Russo CR, Schiessl H, Felsenberg D. (2004). Is muscle power output a key
factor in the age-related decline in physical performance? A comparison of muscle cross section,
chair-rising test and jumping power. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging 24: 335–340.
18. Sargeant AJ, Davies CT, Edwards RH, Maunder C, Young A. (1977) Functional and structural
changes after disuse of human muscle. Clin Sci Mol Med 52: 337–342.
19. Sato T, Akatsuka H, Kito K, Tokoro Y, Tauchi H, and Kato K. Age changes in size and number of
muscle fibers in human minor pectoral muscle. Mech Ageing Dev 28: 99–109, 1984.
20. Šimunič B, Pišot R, Djordjević S, Kugovnik O. (2005). Age related changes of the skeletal muscle
contractile properties. In: Milanović, D, Prot, F (Eds.). 4th International Scientific Conference on
Kinesiology “Science and Profession – Challenge for the Future”, Proceedings book, 570-573.
21. Tomonaga M. (1977). Histochemical and ultrastructural changes in senile human skeletal muscle. J
Am Geriatr Soc 25: 125–131.
22. Trappe S, Trappe T, Gallagher P, Harber M, Alkner B, Tesch P. (2004) Human single muscle Fibre
function with 84 day bed-rest and resistance exercise. J Physiol 557: 501–513.
23. WHO – World Health Organisation (2003). Health and Development Through Physical Activity and
Sport. WHO/NMH/NPH/PAH/03.2.