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Master Athletes Are Extending the Limits of Human Endurance

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Theincreasedparticipationofmasterathletes(i.e.,>40yearsold)inenduranceandultra-enduranceevents(>6hduration)overthepastfewdecadeshasbeenaccompaniedbyanimprovementintheirperformancesatamuchfasterratethantheiryoungercounterparts.Agingdoeshoweverresultinadecreaseinoverallenduranceperformance.Suchage-relateddeclinesinperformancedependuponthemodesoflocomotion,eventduration,andgenderoftheparticipant.Forexample,smallerage-relateddeclinesincyclingperformancethaninrunningandswimminghavebeendocumented.Therelativestabilityofgenderdifferencesobservedacrosstheagessuggeststhattheage-relateddeclinesinphysiologicalfunctiondidnotdifferbetweenmalesandfemales.Amongthemainphysiologicaldeterminantsofenduranceperformance,themaximaloxygenconsumption(VO2max)appearstobetheparameterthatismostalteredbyage.ExerciseeconomyandtheexerciseintensityatwhichahighfractionofVO2maxcanbesustained(i.e.,lactatethreshold),seemtodeclinetoalesserextentwithadvancingage.Theabilitytomaintainahighexercise-trainingstimuluswithadvancingageisemergingasthesinglemostimportantmeansoflimitingtherateofdeclineinenduranceperformance.Byconstantlyextendingthelimitsof(ultra)-endurance,masterathletesthereforerepresentanimportantinsightintotheabilityofhumanstomaintainphysicalperformanceandphysiologicalfunctionwithadvancingage.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Lepers, R. & Stapley, P. J. (2016). Master Athletes Are Extending the Limits of Human Endurance. Frontiers in Physiology, 7 613-1-613-8.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85009367060

Start Page


  • 613-1

End Page


  • 613-8

Volume


  • 7

Abstract


  • Theincreasedparticipationofmasterathletes(i.e.,>40yearsold)inenduranceandultra-enduranceevents(>6hduration)overthepastfewdecadeshasbeenaccompaniedbyanimprovementintheirperformancesatamuchfasterratethantheiryoungercounterparts.Agingdoeshoweverresultinadecreaseinoverallenduranceperformance.Suchage-relateddeclinesinperformancedependuponthemodesoflocomotion,eventduration,andgenderoftheparticipant.Forexample,smallerage-relateddeclinesincyclingperformancethaninrunningandswimminghavebeendocumented.Therelativestabilityofgenderdifferencesobservedacrosstheagessuggeststhattheage-relateddeclinesinphysiologicalfunctiondidnotdifferbetweenmalesandfemales.Amongthemainphysiologicaldeterminantsofenduranceperformance,themaximaloxygenconsumption(VO2max)appearstobetheparameterthatismostalteredbyage.ExerciseeconomyandtheexerciseintensityatwhichahighfractionofVO2maxcanbesustained(i.e.,lactatethreshold),seemtodeclinetoalesserextentwithadvancingage.Theabilitytomaintainahighexercise-trainingstimuluswithadvancingageisemergingasthesinglemostimportantmeansoflimitingtherateofdeclineinenduranceperformance.Byconstantlyextendingthelimitsof(ultra)-endurance,masterathletesthereforerepresentanimportantinsightintotheabilityofhumanstomaintainphysicalperformanceandphysiologicalfunctionwithadvancingage.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Lepers, R. & Stapley, P. J. (2016). Master Athletes Are Extending the Limits of Human Endurance. Frontiers in Physiology, 7 613-1-613-8.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85009367060

Start Page


  • 613-1

End Page


  • 613-8

Volume


  • 7