Reaburn, P., & Mackinnon, L. (1990). Blood lactate responses in older swimmers during active and passive recovery following maximal sprint swimming. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 61, 246-250.

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This study determined the effect of age on three blood lactate parameters following maximal sprint swimming. The parameters examined were maximal blood lactate concentration, time to reach maximal blood lactate concentration, and half-recovery time to baseline lactate concentration. These parameters were examined in 16 male competitive masters swimmers (N = 4 for each age group: 25-35, 36-45, 46-55, and 56+ years) during both passive and active recovery following a maximal 100-m freestyle sprint swim. Passive recovery consisted of 60 minutes sitting in a comfortable chair and active recovery consisted of a 20-minute swim at a self-selected pace. Capillary blood samples were obtained every two minutes up to 10 minutes of recovery then at regular intervals to the end of the recovery period. Curves of blood lactate concentration against time were drawn and the three parameters determined for each condition for each S.

There were no significant differences between age groups in any of the lactate parameters examined. A significant difference was noted in each of the parameters between active and passive recovery over all age groups. Active recovery produced lower maximal blood lactate values, and lower half-recovery times.

Implication. Intensive swimming training may prevent or delay the decline with age in the physiological factors affecting blood lactate values following a maximal sprint swim. Older sprint swimmers appear to be capable of producing and removing lactic acid at the same rate as younger swimmers. The age-related decline in swim-sprint performance may be due to factors other than changes in anaerobic glycolytic capacity.

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