Space | 04. September 2018 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

Let the games begin – Study of older athletes at the World Championships in Málaga

Credit: DLR
The MAFS study team

All the boxes are unpacked, the measurement stations have been set up, the first test subjects recruited and the study team is looking forward to their work – they are all set to go. The first measurements in the MAFS study (Masters Athletics Field Study 2018) started at 08:00 today, at the Senior World Masters Track and Field Athletics Championships in Málaga. The MAFS study examines how sport at an advanced age affects health, specifically the heart, circulatory system and metabolism. The competition is scheduled to run until 16 September – and the DLR team is on site to take a close look at the athletes' muscles, hearts and attitudes to life.##markend##

Yesterday was a busy day in the main stadium for the World Masters Athletics Championships. The measurement stations needed to be carefully unpacked, sorted, moved to the correct location, set up and checked. Consisting of DLR staff from the Institute of Aerospace Medicine and colleagues from the Universities of Texas and Málaga, the MAFS team divided the tasks into assembly and recruitment so that they could start with the first resting metabolism measurements the following morning. So the initial crop of athletes line up at the MAFS measurement stations, even before the world championships begin. Among the participants reporting on the first day are contestants from Australia, Costa Rica, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Spain and the United States.

As part of the MAFS study, track and field athletes are tested for age-related changes in the connective tissue of the skeletal musculature, the characteristics of blood vessels, and heart size and function. The purpose is to investigate the influence of regular sporting activity on human health. In total, the athletes pass through five stations, which include, among other things, ultrasound examinations of the calf muscle tissue and the heart in order to determine their performance. Other stations involve the completion of detailed questionnaires, as well as a resting metabolism test, for which the athletes are required to come in the morning before eating or drinking.

For the DLR team, this means that all examination appointments with athletes who have travelled to the world championships must be scheduled so that the subjects can easily combine taking part in the study and competing in the events. The athletes, of course, show considerable interest in both.

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The main stadium in Málaga

The MAFS team is delighted with so much enthusiasm and the athletes' positive energy across all age groups. We are looking forward to the competitions and are keeping our fingers crossed for all of the contestants!


About the author

Friederike Wütscher is responsible for public relations at the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine. She presents the Institute’s diverse areas of work and research topics to the outside world. to authorpage