As we age our muscles get smaller and weaker, ultimately resulting in frailty and loss of independence.
Researchers are trying to find ways to prevent or delay frailty by maintaining physical function. The project is the first of a series of studies that will help to find ways in which we can keep muscles healthy and strong as we get older.
Dr Keith Stokes and his team are looking for male and female volunteers aged between 20 and 35 or between 65 and 80 years.
The volunteers will be asked to visit their laboratory at the University on two occasions to take part in some basic tests to assess leg muscle size, strength and power as well as the co-ordination of specific movements.
Dr Stokes said: “It is estimated that men and women aged 65 and over lose about two per cent of their muscle every year. This makes a major contribution to frailty and disability in old age as well as other conditions such as diabetes.
“We know that it is possible to slow down the loss of muscle through various forms of regular physical activity, but we now recognise that factors other than muscle size have an effect on our physical function. These factors include how well we activate and co-ordinate different muscles.”
Dr Stokes hopes that the research will help to develop better exercise programmes designed to maintain physical function as we age.
He said: “By taking part volunteers are making a significant contribution to research that is designed to improve health, wellbeing and independence in old age.”
There is no payment for volunteering but participants will receive detailed feedback regarding their strength and power measurements.
Dr Stokes and his team are happy to give a short presentation on the study to any groups interested in taking part.
Please email Dr Keith Stokes or call 01225 384190 for more information