Queen Square Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases


Exercise and Sarcopenia


Sarcopenia has significant implications on:

quality of life,

Sponsor Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust
Funder MRC
CI Dr Grainne Gorman
Sites Newcastle, London Queen Square
Contact details Julia.maddison@newcastle.ac.uk
  • performance of daily activities
  • maintenance of independence
  • projected healthcare costs

Studies show that low physical activity correlates with poor mitochondrial function.

However, exercise correlates with better mitochondrial function, clinical improvement and improved perceived quality of life.

Endurance training has been proven to be safe and effective in mitochondrial disease.

This may provide a model for the ageing process.


1. To assess the rate and extent of motor unit loss in the eighth decade of life- cross-sectional (time 0) and longitudinal analysis (end of study)

2. To correlate the extent of motor unit loss with histological changes and the development of sarcopenia

3. To assess the impact of exercise on the rate and extent of motor neuron loss

4. To see if endurance training started in late middle age prevents loss of muscle strength and mass in advanced age

5. To assess the impact of neuronal loss on the inability to retain gains made in muscle strength following training after the 7th decade of life

6. To characterise effects of exercise upon neural activity, muscle oxidative capacity and mitochondrial and satellite cell plasticity with age.


36 female participants, matched for body mass index who do not take regular exercise will be invited to participate.

Age groups (in years):

  • 30-40
  • 50-60
  • and 70+

Study information

The study will take place over 16 weeks. Participants will attend the study centre for seven visits in total.

The study will include two main visits at the beginning and end of the study. Each main visit will last three days. There will also be five one day visits.