Percentage decline in masters superathlete track and field performance with aging

A. B. Baker*, Y. Q. Tang, M. J. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Masters athletic records in track and field events, published in September 1999, were analyzed to evaluate the percentage decline in maximum physiological performance with increasing age. Records were normalized using the 30s age records as the baseline and studied through to the 90s age range. Track running records declined with age in a curvilinear fashion [y = 1 - exp((T - T0)/τ)] whereas the walking and field events declined in a linear manner [y = α(T-T′0)]. There were significant differences in the rates of percentage decline in the running events over various distances for both males and females, and significant differences between males and females. Decline with aging was greater for females, and for the longer or endurance running events. There were no differences in the rates of declining function for any of the walking events, and the only jumping event to show a significant difference was the high jump performance, which showed the slowest decline. The walking events declined more slowly than the running events, which declined more slowly than the jumping events. Because of the changes in the weights, heights, and distances at different ages, for both males and females, it was not possible to directly compare rates of decline in the various throwing and hurdling events. The strength-dependent throwing events and the pole vault showed the greatest rates of decline with age. In general terms, men's performance declined to 75% of peak performance in sprint events by the early 70s, in the longer track distances by mid to late 60s, and in field events by mid to late 50s. Women's performance declined to a similar extent by their mid 60s in track events, and by late 40s to early 50s in field events. Some of these differences may be due to differences in training effort and/or other competitive aspects, such as the numbers of athletes involved in the sport, and such differences may be reduced in the future with a more professional approach to these events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-65
Number of pages19
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

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