Neuromuscular Factors Associated with Decline in Long-Distance Running Performance in Master Athletes
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- Brisswalter, J. & Nosaka, K. Sports Med (2013) 43: 51. doi:10.1007/s40279-012-0006-9
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This review focuses on neuromuscular factors that may affect endurance performance in master athletes. During the last decade, due to the rapid increase in the number of master or veteran participants in endurance sporting competitions, many studies attempted to identify metabolic factors associated with the decrease in endurance, especially long-distance running performance with ageing, focusing on decreases in maximal oxygen consumption. However, neuromuscular factors have been less studied despite the well-known phenomena of strength loss with ageing. For master athletes to perform better in long-distance running events, it is important to reduce muscle fatigue and/or muscle damage, to improve locomotion efficiency and to facilitate recovery. To date, no consensus exists that regular endurance training is beneficial for improving locomotion efficiency, reducing muscle fatigue and muscle damage, and enhancing recovery capacity in master athletes. Some recent studies seem to indicate that master athletes have similar muscle damage to young athletes, but they require a longer recovery time after a long-distance running event. Further analyses of these parameters in master athletes require more experimental and practical interest from researchers and coaches. In particular, more attention should be directed towards the capacity to maintain muscle function with training and the role of neuromuscular factors in long-distance performance decline with ageing using a more cellular and molecular approach.