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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2013, Article ID 720246, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Age-Related Increase in Electromyography Burst Activity in Males and Females

1Geriatric Medicine, Dalhousie University, 5955 Veterans’ Memorial Lane, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 2E1
2Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A8
3Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia Okanagan, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, Canada V1V 1V7

Received 16 June 2013; Accepted 10 July 2013

Academic Editor: Iris Reuter

Copyright © 2013 Olga Theou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The rapid advancement of electromyography (EMG) technology facilitates measurement of muscle activity outside the laboratory during daily life. The purpose of this study was to determine whether bursts in EMG recorded over a typical 8-hour day differed between young and old males and females. Muscle activity was recorded from biceps brachii, triceps brachii, vastus lateralis, and biceps femoris of 16 young and 15 old adults using portable surface EMG. Old muscles were active 16–27% of the time compared to 5–9% in young muscles. The number of bursts was greater in old than young adults and in females compared to males. Burst percentage and mean amplitude were greater in the flexor muscles compared with the extensor muscles. The greater burst activity in old adults coupled with the unique activity patterns across muscles in males and females provides further understanding of how changes in neuromuscular activity effects age-related functional decline between the sexes.