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Pulmonary O2 uptake on-kinetics in endurance- and sprint-trained master athletes

Berger, Nicolas J.A. and Rittweger, Joern and Kwiet, Ariane J. and Michaelis, Ingo and Williams, Alun G. and Tolfrey, Keith and Jones, Andrew M. (2006) Pulmonary O2 uptake on-kinetics in endurance- and sprint-trained master athletes. International journal of sports medicine, 27 (12). pp. 1005-1012. ISSN 0172-4622

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to characterise the V.O (2) kinetic response to moderate intensity cycle exercise in endurance-trained (END) and sprint or power-trained (SPR) track and field master athletes ranging in age from 45 to 85 years. We hypothesised that the time constant (tau) describing the Phase II V.O (2) on-response would be smaller in the END compared to the SPR athletes, and that the tau would become greater with increasing age in both groups. Eighty-four master athletes who were competing at either the British or European Veteran Athletics Championships acted as subjects, and were classified as either END (800 m - marathon; n = 41), or SPR (100 - 400 m and field events; n = 43) specialists. Subjects completed two 6 minute "step" transitions to a work rate of moderate intensity on a cycle ergometer and pulmonary gas exchange was measured breath-by-breath. Analysis of variance revealed that SPR athletes had slower V.O (2) on-kinetics (i.e., greater tau) compared to END athletes at each of the age groups studied: 46 - 55 yrs (END: 25 +/- 6 VS. SPR: 36 +/- 9 s; p < 0.10), 56 - 65 yrs (END: 25 +/- 5 VS. SPR: 35 +/- 10 s; p < 0.05), 66 - 75 yrs (END: 29 +/- 10 VS. SPR: 40 +/- 13 s; p < 0.05), and 76 - 85 yrs (END: 31 +/- 10 VS. SPR: 51 +/- 18 s; p < 0.05). The V.O (2) on-kinetics became slower with advancing age in the SPR athletes (p < 0.05 between 56 - 65 and 76 - 85 yrs) but were not significantly changed in the END athletes. The slower V.O (2) on-kinetics in SPR compared to END master athletes is consistent both with differences in physiology (e.g., muscle fibre type, oxidative/glycolytic capacity) and training between these specialist athletes. Master END athletes have similar tau values to their younger counterparts ( approximately 25 s) suggesting that participation in endurance exercise training limits the slowing of V.O (2) on-kinetics with age in this population.

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