Advertisement

AGE

, Volume 29, Issue 2–3, pp 77–85 | Cite as

Effects of age and gender on physical performance

  • Vanina Bongard
  • Ann Y. McDermott
  • Gerard E. Dallal
  • Ernst J. SchaeferEmail author
Article

Abstract

Our purpose was to examine the effects of age and gender on physical performance. We assessed a one-hour swimming performance and participation of 4,271 presumably healthy men and women, aged 19–91 years, from the 2001–2003 United States Masters Swimming long-distance (1 h) national competition. The decline in performance with increasing age was found to be quadratic rather than linear. The equation which best fit variation in 1 h swimming distance in meters (m) according to variations in age in years (y) in men was: distance (m) = 4058 + 2.18 age−0.29 age (http://www.acsmmsse.org/pt/re/msse/positionstandards.htm;jsessionid=DiRVACC7YS3mq27s5kV3vwpEVSokmmD1ZJLC7pdnol3KcfoSu0t!1096311956!-949856145!9001!-1), with the same equation for women except that 380 m needed to be subtracted from the calculated value at all ages (about a 10% difference). There was a large overlap in performance between men and women. The overall mean decline in performance with age was about 50% and was parallel in men and women. The mean difference in distance for a 1-year increment in age was −9.7 m at 21 y of age, −21.3 m at 40 y, and −44.5 m at 80 y. Far greater declines of about 96% in numbers participating with advanced age (80 y and over, 4% of peak numbers) were observed than in the 40–49 y age group. In conclusion, the declines in performance were parallel in men and women at all ages, and the 1-year age-related declines in performance were about twice as great at 40 y and more than four-times as great at 80 y than at 20 y of age, with even greater age-related declines in participation being noted for both men and women.

Keywords

Aging Physical performance Physical activity Exercise Swimming 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This material is based on work supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service under agreement no. 58-1950-4-401. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This research was supported by USDA contract 53-3K06-10. Dr Bongard was supported by a grant from Pfizer of France, and her current location is the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France. Dr. McDermott was supported by an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (F32 DK064512-03), and her current location is the Life Sciences Department, California State University at San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA.

The authors would like to thank Lynn Hazlewood, Marcia Cleveland, Peter Crumbine, and Bob Bruce from the USMS Long Distance Committee for providing the result data files of the USMS one-hour championships; Barry Fasbender, USMS Championship Committee Chair, and Bill Volckening, the USMS National Publication editor of SWIMMER Magazine, for providing 2005 championship data, as well as Esther Lyman and Tracy Grilli for providing information on the number of USMS members.

References

  1. American College of Sports Medicine. Position Stand Papers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise http://www.acsmmsse.org/pt/re/msse/positionstandards.htm;jsessionid=DiRVACC7YS3mq27s5kV3vwpEVSokmmD1ZJLC7pdnol3KcfoSu0t!1096311956!-949856145!9001!-1 (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  2. Bijnen FC, Caspersen CJ, Feskens EJM, et al (1998) Physical activity and 10-year mortality from cardiovascular diseases and all causes: the Zutphen elderly study. Arch Intern Med 158:1499–1505PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bortz W, IV, Bortz W, II (1996) How fast do we age? Exercise performance over time as a biomarker. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 51:m223–m225PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Boston Athletic Association (2005). Boston Marathon 2005 Statistics: http://www.bostonmarathon.org/cfm_Public/2005/pg _Statistics.htm. (Accessed 11-01–2006)
  5. Croley AN, Zwetsloot KA, Westerkamp LM, et al (2005) Lower capillarization, VEGF protein, and VEGF mRNA response to acute exercise in the vastus lateralis muscle of aged versus young women. J Appl Physiol 99:1872–1879PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity for Everyone: Recommendations: How active do adults need to be to gain some benefit? http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/recommendations/adults.htm. (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  7. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Physical Activity Statistics: Metropolitan Area Physical Activity Statistics. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/stats/metroplitan.htm. (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  8. DiPietro L, Williamson D, Caspersen CJ, et al (1989) The descriptive epidemiology of selected physical activities and body weight among adults trying to lose weight: the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, 1989. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 17:69–76PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. DiPietro L, Dziura J, Yeckel CW, et al (2006) Exercise and improved insulin sensitivity in older women: evidence of the enduring benefits of higher intensity training. J Appl Physiol 100:142-149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DiPietro L (2001) Physical activity in aging: changes in patterns and their relationship to health and function. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 56:13—22PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Donato AJ, Tench K, Glueck DH, et al (2003) Declines in physiological functional capacity with age: a longitudinal study in peak swimming performance. J Appl Physiol 94:764—769PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Douglas PS, O’Toole M (1992) Aging and physical activity determine cardiac structure and function in the older athlete. J Appl Physiol 72:1969—1973PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Eskurza I, Donato AJ, Moreau KL, et al (2002) Changes in maximal aerobic capacity with age in endurance-trained women: 7-yr follow-up. J Appl Physiol 92:2303–2308PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Executive Summary of the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) (2001) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel. JAMA 285:2486–2497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldstein M (2001) USMS Membership Analysis Report. 9-10-2001. United States Masters SwimmingGoogle Scholar
  16. Hartley AA, Hartley JT (1984) Performance changes in champion swimmers aged 30 to 84 years. Exp Aging Res 10:141–150PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Jokl P, Sethi PM, Cooper AJ (2004) Master’s performance in the New York City Marathon 1983–1999. Br J Sports Med 38:408–412PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kaufman HW, McNamara JR, Anderson KM, Wilson PWF, Schaefer EJ (1990) How reliably can compact chemistry analyzers measure lipids? JAMA 263:1245–1249PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kirkendall DT, Garrett WEJ (1998) The effects of aging and training on skeletal muscle. Am J Sports Med 26:598–602PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Maharam LG, Bauman PA, Kalman D, et al (1999) Masters athletes: factors affecting performance. Sports Med 28:273–285PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mattern CO, Gutilla MJ, Bright DL, et al (2003) Maximal lactate steady state declines during the aging process. J Appl Physiol 95:2576–2582PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Nair KS (2005) Aging muscle. Am J Clin Nutr 81:953–963PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Physical activity and health; A report of the Surgeon General. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/fact.htm. (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  24. Schaefer EJ, Lamon-Fava S, Ordovas JM, Cohn SD, Schaefer MM, Castelli WP, Wilson PWF (1994) Factors associated with low and elevated plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-1 levels in the Framingham Offspring Study. J. Lipid Res. 35:871–882PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Short KR, Vittone JL, Bigelow ML, et al (2005) Changes in myosin heavy chain mRNA and protein expression in human skeletal muscle with age and endurance exercise training. J Appl Physiol 99:95–102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Spiroduso WW, Cronin DL (2001) Exercise dose-response effects on quality of life and independent living older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:S598–S608; discussion S609–S610Google Scholar
  27. Swimmers enjoy long course nationals California style (2005) USMS Swimmer 1(4):10–11, 9–1Google Scholar
  28. Tanaka H, Seals DR (1997) Age and gender interactions in physiological functional capacity: Insight from swimming performance. J Appl Physiol 82:846–851PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. United States Masters Swimming Organization. United States Masters Swimming (2006) Swimming for Life. http://www.usms.org. (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  30. United States Masters Swimming Organization. USMS One Hour Postal Championships, January 1-31, 2001. http://www.usms.org/longdist/ldnats01/1hrresults.shtml. (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  31. United States Masters Swimming Organization. USMS One Hour Postal Championships, January 1-31, 2005. http://www.usms.org/longdist/Idnats02/1hrresults.pdf. (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  32. United States Masters Swimming Organization. USMS One Hour Postal Championships, January 1-31, 2003. http://www.usms.org/longdist/ldnats03/1hrresultsswmrs.pdf. (Accessed 11-01-2006)
  33. Verbrugge LM, Gruber-Baldini AL, Fozard JL (1996) Age differences and age changes in activities: Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 51:S34–40Google Scholar
  34. Weir PL, Kerr T, Hodges N, et al (2005) Masters swimmers: How are they different from younger elite swimmers? An examination of practice and performance patterns. J Aging Phys Act 10:41–63Google Scholar
  35. Westerkerp KR, Meijer EP (2001) Physical activity and parameters of aging: a physiological perspective. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 56:7–12Google Scholar
  36. World Health Organization (2003) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. World Health Organ Tech Rep Ser 916:i-viii, 1-149, backcoverGoogle Scholar
  37. Young B, Starkes J (2005) Career-span analyses of track performance: longitudinal data present a more optimistic view of age-related performance decline. Exp Aging Res 31:69–90PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© American Aging Association, Media, PA, USA 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanina Bongard
    • 1
  • Ann Y. McDermott
    • 1
  • Gerard E. Dallal
    • 1
  • Ernst J. Schaefer
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Lipid MetabolismTufts University Human Nutrition Research CenterBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations