Hawkins, S. A., Marcell, T. J., Jaque, S. V., & Wiswell, R. A. (2001). A longitudinal assessment of change in VO2max and maximal heart rate in master athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33, 1744-1750.

Male (N = 86) and female (N = 49) master endurance runners were tested an average of 8.5 years apart.

It was found that VO2max and maximum heart rate declined significantly regardless of gender and age group. The changes were similar to or greater than would be expected of like sedentary individuals. In men, the greatest loss in VO2max was associated with the loss in lean body mass. In women, VO2max loss was associated most with reduction in training volume and no estrogen replacement after menopause. Maximum heart rate change was not associated with VO2max or training volume in either gender.

Implication. The aging process occurs in master athletes in a manner similar to sedentary individuals. Reductions in performance related physiological variables were associated with factors that differed between the genders.

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