Friday, 30 October 2009

Let's hear it for the slow twitch

Skiers of a certain age – take heart. There's reason you can't dazzle in the powder, dance around tight moguls or thread a turbo-charged path between trees - and it's not necessarily lack of technique. It's also got to do with muscle twitch.

Slow twitch muscle fibres deteriorate much later in life than the fast twitch sort, which sprinters rely on. I am indebted for this information to today's Guardian sports section, which provided it in order to explain why female marathon runners improve with age.

I was musing on it while out running today. It will console me when younger runners flash past and next time I take a head plant in new snow. And it will help me cling to the illusion that my performance has nothing to do with ancient body parts, red wine – or a lifelong inability to get my balance right.

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