, there is limited data for older athletes, and it is conceivable that these processes might occur differentially across the life course, perhaps even modulating aging processes. Aging is associated with a progressive change in most aspects of physiology, including impairments to the cardiovascular
André L. Estrela, Aline Zaparte, Jeferson D. da Silva, José Cláudio Moreira, James E. Turner, and Moisés E. Bauer
Rylee Dionigi and Gabrielle O’Flynn
Physical performance discourses are concerned with improving fitness and competing to win or achieve a personal best. Older people are commonly not recognized as acceptable or normal subjects of performance discourses because they are traditionally positioned as weak and less able. Yet the number of older people participating in physically demanding competitive sports is increasing. The purpose of this paper is to use a poststructural framework to explore how Masters athletes use performance discourses to define their participation. Interviews and observations were conducted with 138 participants (ages 55–94) of the 8th Australian Masters Games. The findings indicate that performance discourses work both as a medium for redefining what it means to be an older athlete and for re-inscribing normalized constructs of the acceptable older athlete.
Nattai R. Borges, Aaron T. Scanlan, Peter R. Reaburn, and Thomas M. Doering
Purpose: Due to age-related changes in the psychobiological state of masters athletes, this brief report aimed to compare training load responses using heart rate (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) during standardized training sessions between masters and young cyclists. Methods: Masters (n = 10; 55.6 [5.0] y) and young (n = 8; 25.9 [3.0] y) cyclists performed separate endurance and high-intensity interval training sessions. Endurance intensity was set at 95% of ventilatory threshold 2 for 1 hour. High-intensity interval training consisted of 6 × 30-second intervals at 175% peak power output with 4.5-minute rest between intervals. HR was monitored continuously and RPE collected at standardized time periods during each session. Banister training impulse and summated-HR-zones training loads were also calculated. Results: Despite a significantly lower mean HR in masters cyclists during endurance (P = .04; d = 1.06 [±0.8], moderate) and high-intensity interval training (P = .01; d = 1.34 [±0.8], large), no significant differences were noted (P > .05) when responses were determined relative to maximum HR or converted to training impulse and summated-HR-zone loads. Furthermore, no interaction or between-group differences were evident for RPE across either session (P > .05). Conclusions: HR and RPE values were comparable between masters and young cyclists when relative HR responses and HR training load models are used. This finding suggests HR and RPE methods used to monitor or prescribe training load can be used interchangeably between masters and young athletes irrespective of chronological age.
Nattai Borges, Peter Reaburn, Matthew Driller, and Christos Argus
Despite increasing participation rates in masters sport and extensive research examining age-related changes in performance, little is known about the effect of age on recovery kinetics in masters athletes. This narrative review focuses on the relationship between aging and sport participation, and the effect on both performance and recovery following an exercise bout. Current research suggests the effect of age on performance and recovery may be smaller than originally suggested and that increasing sedentary lifestyles appear to play a larger role in any observed decrements in performance and recovery in masters athletes. Currently, it appears that performance decrements are inevitable with age. However, performance capacities can be maintained through systematic physical training. Moreover, the limited current research suggests there may be an age effect on recovery kinetics following an exercise bout, although further research is required to understand the acute and chronic recovery processes in the masters athlete.
Marko T. Korhonen, Harri Suominen, Jukka T. Viitasalo, Tuomas Liikavainio, Markku Alen, and Antti A. Mero
Eighteen young (23 ± 4 yr) and 25 older (70 ± 4 yr) male sprinters were examined for ground reaction force (GRF) and temporal-spatial variables. The data were collected during maximum-speed phase, and variability and symmetry indices were calculated from a total of 8 steps. There was little variation (CV < 6%) in vertical and resultant GRF and kinematic variables, while impact loading had high variability (CV: 10–21%). Overall, the pattern of variability was similar in both groups. Yet, a small but significant age-related increase in CV was evident in horizontal GRFs. There was a variable-specific asymmetry between legs but it was not related to leg dominance. No age differences existed in the symmetry indices. Results indicate that only selected force platform variables are symmetric and repeatable enough so that their use for comparison purposes is appropriate. Data also suggest that aging may increase variability in certain biomechanical measures, whereas symmetry is not affected by age.
Caterina Pesce and Michel Audiffren
This study investigated the effects of acute exercise on 53 young (16–24 years) and 47 older (65–74 years) adults’ switch-task performance. Participants practiced sports requiring either low or high cognitive demands. Both at rest and during aerobic exercise, the participants performed two reaction time tasks that differed in the amount of executive control involved in switching between global and local target features of visual compound stimuli. Switch costs were computed as reaction time differences between switch and nonswitch trials. In the low demanding task, switch costs were sensitive only to age, whereas in the high demanding task, they were sensitive to acute exercise, age, and sport-related cognitive expertise. The results suggest that acute exercise enhances cognitive flexibility and facilitates complex switch-task performance. Both young age and habitual practice of cognitively challenging sports are associated with smaller switch costs, but neither age nor cognitive expertise seem to moderate the relationship between acute exercise and switch-task performance.
Martin C. Waller, Deborah A. Kerr, Martyn J. Binnie, Emily Eaton, Clare Wood, Terreen Stenvers, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Carmel Goodman, and Kagan J. Ducker
reported sourcing their supplements from easily available sources such as the supermarket, pharmacy, and directly from institute staff. However, older athletes and those on higher scholarships were more likely to source supplements from training facilities and sports nutrition staff outside of the
The number of older athletes is growing with the aging of populations across the developed world. This article reviews studies from a variety of disciplines that focus specifically on the motives and experiences of older adults competing in physically demanding sports at events such as masters and veterans competitions in Australia or the Senior Olympics in North America. It is shown that the majority of research into this phenomenon has taken a quantitative approach or failed to consider older athletes’ experiences in the context of broader sociocultural discourses. Therefore, using the author’s research into the experiences of older Australian masters athletes as a catalyst, the need for and strength of sociological qualitative research in this area is discussed. The use of qualitative methods, such as in-depth interviews and observations, and interpretive analysis provided alternative ways of making sense of older adults and their relationship with competitive sport to what is typically found in the sport and aging literature.
James Fell and Andrew Dafydd Williams
Recovery from exercise is integral to the physical training process. There is a perception among older athletes that aging negatively affects the recovery process. Plausible arguments for an impaired recovery with aging are a greater susceptibility of older muscle to exercise-induced skeletal-muscle damage and a slower repair and adaptation response. Differences in the physical activity level of the research participants are rarely considered, however. This makes it difficult to differentiate the respective roles of declining physical activity and aging on the recovery process. Furthermore, the type of exercise used to induce damage and monitor recovery is often not indicative of a normal training stimulus for athletes. This review discusses the effects of aging on skeletal-muscle damage and recovery processes and highlights the limitations of many of these studies with respect to older athletes. Future research should use an exercise intervention representative of a normal training stimulus and take the physical activity level of the participants into account.
Shari Ann Orders and Packianathan Chelladurai
In order to determine the effectiveness of Sport Canada's (a unit of the Government of Canada) Athlete Assistance Program (AAP), the performance histories (standardized scores) of 371 AAP-funded swimmers (n = 183) and track-and-field athletes (« = 188) of both genders carded from September 1980 to November 1990 were analyzed. Because of the differences in the absolute performances of males and females, and the differences in standardizing the performances in the two sports, data of the males and females in each sport were analyzed separately. The results showed that carded athletes in each of the four groups improved their performances significantly following the awarding of carding status. Also, swimmers improved more consistently than the track-and-field athletes. For swimmers, younger athletes improved more than the older athletes, while the opposite was true with the track-and-field athletes. Based on these results, related funding policy issues were discussed.