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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1985 Jun;58(6):2041-6.

A hemodynamic comparison of young and older endurance athletes during exercise.


This study assessed the hemodynamic responses to exercise of master athletes (56 +/- 5 yr of age) who placed in the top 10% of their age groups in local 10-km competitive events, competitive young runners (26 +/- 3 yr), young runners matched in training and performance to the master athletes (25 +/- 3 yr), and healthy older sedentary subjects (58 +/- 5 yr). The maximal O2 consumption (VO2max) of the master athletes was 9 and 19% lower than that of the matched young and competitive young runners, respectively. When compared at the same relative submaximal work rates, these three groups had similar stroke volumes and arteriovenous O2 (aVO2) differences, though the master athletes had lower VO2, cardiac output, and heart rate, and higher vascular resistance. The older sedentary group had a lower stroke volume, aVO2 difference, and higher vascular resistance than the master athletes. Maximal stroke volume and estimated aVO2 difference were the same in the three groups of athletes; the lower maximal heart rate of the master athletes appears to account for their lower VO2max. The older sedentary subjects' VO2max was 47% lower than that of the master athletes; this difference was almost equally the result of a lower stroke volume and a lower a-VO2 difference. Thus these older athletes did not exhibit the decline in maximum stroke volume and aVO2 difference that occurs with aging in sedentary individuals; they also appear to have retained a greater peripheral vasodilatory response than their sedentary peers.

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