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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Exercise may prevent age related motor unit loss

Regular exercise may prevent-or at least  significantly slow down- motor unit loss  in the muscle groups exercised.  GA Powers et al demonstrated that there was significantly less loss of motor units in the tibialis anterior  muscles of long time runner as compared with older sedentary otherwise healthy subjects.   

The estimated number of motor units in the group of masters runner (average 65 years)was the same as those in young active runners (age average 25)
Interestingly the arm muscle of the runners did not show less motor unit loss, although one would think the arm movement during running would be helpful in that regard.

Muscle loss can be due motor unit loss ( remember the motor unit includes the anterior horn cell) or muscle atrophy or both. You have to think that once anterior horn cells die no amount of exercise will rejuvenate the muscle.

1) Power, GA et al  Motor unit number estimates in masters runners: use it or losse it?
Med Sci Sports Exerc 2010 Sept 42 (9) 1644-50

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