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RACING AND AGEING: WHAT IS THE REAL ASSOCIATION?. Michael Turnbull 2 nd November 2005. OVERVIEW. The participation of adults over 40 in competitive sport has increased dramatically. Triathlon has a highly competitive age-group scene. However, ageing will lead to a decline in performance.

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Racing and ageing what is the real association l.jpg

RACING AND AGEING: WHAT IS THE REAL ASSOCIATION?

Michael Turnbull

2nd November 2005


Overview l.jpg
OVERVIEW

  • The participation of adults over 40 in competitive sport has increased dramatically.

  • Triathlon has a highly competitive age-group scene.

  • However, ageing will lead to a decline in performance.


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OVERVIEW

  • Areas to be addressed:

    • Does ageing affect performance?

    • Physiological changes and ageing

    • How trainable are middle-aged athletes?

    • Does intensive exercise pose any health risks?


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SPORTING PERFORMANCE

  • Swimming

  • 1500m times decline steadily from the age of 35 onwards.

  • Cycling

  • 40km times decrease at about an average of 20secs (0.6%) a year.

  • Running

  • A declination rate of about 1% per year from the age of 27-47 can be seen in 10km times.


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BODY SIZE

  • Height is lost and weight is gained.

  • Height loss can start to occur as early as 35.

  • Weight gain generally begins between 25-45.


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BODY COMPOSITION

  • However, training can attenuate these changes


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RELATIVE FAT MASS (%)

BODY COMPOSITION & TRAINING

  • Regular training in older athletes can maintain body composition to similar levels as sedentary young people.


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STRENGTH

  • Strength can decrease by approximately 1.8% per year from 35 years.

  • Maximal and dynamic strength is reduced.

  • Active people experience a shift towards slow twitch muscle fibres.

  • The total number of muscle fibres and fibre cross sectional areas decrease with age.


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STRENGTH & TRAINING

  • Strength and resistance training is an important aspect.

  • Research has shown that ageing does not impair a person’s ability to increase muscle strength or muscle hypertrophy.

  • Individual muscle fibres also have the ability to grow in size.


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CARDIOVASCULAR FUNCTION

  • Endurance performance declines with age.

  • Max HR decrease less than 1 beat per year

    • HRmax = [208 – (0.7 x age)]

  • Max stroke volume and cardiac output decrease.


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CV FUNCTION & TRAINING

  • Studies indicate that CV changes are minimized in older athletes who continue to train.

  • Stroke volume can be maintained in older athletes who have continued to train.

  • Physical inactivity plays a bigger part than the ageing process.


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RESPIRATORY FUNCTION

  • Vital capacity and FEV decrease linearly with age

  • Residual volume increases

  • Maximal expiratory ventilation decreases.

  • These are primarily caused by a loss of elasticity in the lung tissue and the chest wall.

  • Total lung volume remains unchanged


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VO2 MAX

  • Aerobic capacity decreases by approximately 1% per year.

  • The primary limiter of VO2 max is the decreased oxygen transport to the muscles.

  • Similar results have been found for highly trained endurance athletes - although the variation is much wider.


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VO2 MAX


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VO2 MAX & TRAINING

  • High intensity training should not be reduced.

  • High intensity training leads to significantly smaller decreases in VO2 max.

  • Endurance training improves muscle’s oxidative enzyme activities.


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EXPOSURE TO HEAT

  • Older adults are more susceptible to fatal heat injuries.

  • There is a reduction in thermal tolerance and regulation

  • Even when people are matched for body size, comp, VO2 max, and acclimatization, these age related differences persist.


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TRAINING ADAPTATIONS

  • Endurance exercise training produces similar gains in healthy people, regardless of their age, sex or initial level of fitness

  • Training cannot halt the process of biological aging, but it can lessen the impact of ageing on performance.


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CONCLUSION

  • Ageing affects physical performance

  • Cardiorespiratory function, strength and body composition are all impaired with age.

  • It is clear that much of these changes is attributable to inactivity.

  • Physical activity leads to changes that are similar to that seen in young adults.

  • Age is not a barrier!


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