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Endurance performance in masters athletes
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Peter ReaburnPeter Reaburn, Benjamin DascombeBenjamin Dascombe
Masters athletes are typically older than 35 years of age and systematically train for, and compete in, organized forms of sport specifically designed for older adults. They are motivated to participate in masters sport for a wide variety of reasons. Age-related declines in endurance performance are observed across the endurance sports of running, orienteering, rowing, and swimming. These declines are curvilinear from age 35 years until approximately age 60–70 years and exponential thereafter. The decline in endurance performance appears primarily due to an age-related decrease in VO2max secondary to anage-related decrease in HRmax and possible age-related declines in stroke volume and arteriovenous oxygen difference. While performance velocity at lactate threshold decreases with age in masters endurance athletes, it appears to increase relative to VO2max while exercise economy is maintained. There also appears an age-related decrease inactive muscle mass, type II muscle fiber size, and blood volume that contribute to decreased endurance performance. However, research suggests that maintenance oftraining intensity and volume into older age may mediatethe rate of age-related decline in VO2max, stroke volume, arteriovenous oxygen difference, blood volume, and musclemass in masters endurance athletes.