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A study was undertaken to determine the kinematic nature of the decline in sprint velocity that has been found to occur with aging. Subjects included 162 Master’s sprinters ranging in age from 30 to 94 years. Data were collected at a national championship meet and a World Veterans Championships through use of videotape and the Peak Performance Motion Measurement System. From the digitized videotape data, measures of sprint stride velocity, stride length, stride period, support time, swing time, flight time, and hip, knee, and trunk range of motion were calculated. Velocity, stride length, flight time, swing time, and range of motion in the hip and knee all decreased significantly (p<.05) with age, whereas stride period and support time increased. Further, the proportional relationship between the components of the stride was significantly (p<.05) altered. From this it was inferred that as these sprinters aged there was a decreased ability to exert muscle force as well as a decreased ability to move quickly through a full range of lower extremity motion.
The author is with the University of Northern Iowa, 203 West Gymnasium, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0241.