Comparison between old and young men for changes in makers of muscle damage following voluntary eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors

Andrew P Lavender, Kazunori Nosaka
Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism 2006, 31 (3): 218-25
This study aimed to investigate if old men were more susceptible than young men to muscle damage induced by exercise consisting of repeated-lengthening muscle actions. The responses to a bout of eccentric exercise were compared between 10 young (mean age +/- SEM = 19.4 +/- 0.4 y) and 10 old (70.5 +/- 1.5 y) men. All subjects performed 6 sets of 5 lengthening actions of the left elbow flexors at a range of 90 degrees from an elbow flexed (90 degrees ) to an extended (180 degrees ) position in 5 s using a dumbbell massed at 40% maximal isometric strength (MVC) at an elbow joint angle of 90 degrees . Changes in MVC, range of motion (ROM), upper arm circumference (CIR), muscle soreness (DOMS), plasma creatine kinase activity (CK), and myoglobin (Mb) concentration over 7-10 d following exercise were compared between groups by 2-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Significant differences between groups were evident at baseline for ROM (significantly smaller for the older group) and CIR (significantly larger for the older group), but not for MVC and other measures. Contrary to the hypothesis, the young group showed significantly larger decreases in MVC and ROM and larger increases in circumference, DOMS, CK activity, and Mb con centration than those of the old group. These results suggest that muscle damage is not necessarily greater in old versus young men following voluntary eccentric exercise. It may be that physiological changes that occur with ageing, including a decrease in ROM, reduce damaging stress to muscles during lengthening muscle actions.

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