HOW RUNNERS DECLINE IN PERFORMANCE WITH AGE

The following abbreviated information is from my book, “100 Years Young the Natural Way (Body Mind and Spirit).

World Record Holders Decline in Performance % /Year from Age 35 to 62.5

Using data from World Masters (specific) Age Records 2005 edition. (I was honoured and very fortunate to be on the cover of this last edition of specific age world records.)

%/Year Men 1st column Women 2nd column

Conclusions:

  1. Increased performance loss per year as the distance becomes longer. Compared to long distance runners, sprinters show the lowest decline /year with age since they are doing a great deal of flexibility and anaerobic strength training, i.e., fast movements exercising the fast twitch muscles.
  2. Women decline significantly more than men at all distances

Author Dr.Vonda Wright examined the age related decline of athletes at the 2001 U.S. National Senior Games and also of American Masters track and field athletes for age 35 to 85. She concluded:

  1. Between age 50 to 75 for both men and women in both groups above there was about 2% /year decline in performance with slightly more decline for women.
  2. Between age 75 to 85 the decline was 8% /year average for men and women for the Senior Olympians , and for the American Masters record holders the decline was 4.1% /year for men for men and 10.3%/year for women.

World Record Holders Decline in Male Performance % /Year from 85-90

Conclusions:

  1. Sprinters decline in performance slower by a factor of 2, than middle distance or long-distance runners.
  2. Decline per year for world record holders at 85-90 is about 3 to 4 times higher than between age 35 and 62.5.
  3. World record holders decline in performance at a much slower rate than Senior Olympians. Hence it is reasonable to expect sedentary people will age much quicker than Senior Olympians, American National athletes and world record holder athletes.

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