Manchester Metropolitan University Research Project

Written by Arthur Kimber on 6 Mar 2016

The university is looking for sprinters, up to 400m. and including hurdlers, over 60, to take part in the motor unit study, details below. The university will pay travelling expenses.  If you are interested contact Jessica Coulson on or 0161 247 1207

Motor Unit study

Motor units are made up of the nerves and muscle fibres that control our movements. We know that these change with ageing and probably contribute to both the age related loss of muscle and the age related loss of fine control. There is also some evidence to suggest that exercise can minimize or even prevent these detrimental changes, although it is not known if one form of exercise is more beneficial than another (ie resistance or endurance). With this in mind we hope to characterize the differences in motor units between young people, active older people and frail older people. This involves inserting a small needle electrode into muscles of the leg and performing some light contractions. This allows us to detect the electrical activity of the muscle and estimate the number and size of motor units within the muscle. This is a perfectly safe procedure and we have performed it several hundred times, however if any discomfort is felt participants are free to withdraw at any time. We anticipate each testing procedure should take 2-3 hours.

We have tested a large number of Masters distance runners, and hope to match that with a suitable number of Masters sprinters.