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

Berger, Nicolas J.A., Rittweger, Joern, Kwiet, Ariane J., Michaelis, Ingo, Williams, Alun G., 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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