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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Quinn 2011.

Running performance declines with age due to cardiovascular fitness and strength

updated
Quinn TJ, Manley MJ, Aziz J, Padham JL, MacKenzie AM. Aging and factors related to running economy. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Nov;25(11):2971–9. PubMed #21982960.
Tags: running, biology, etiology, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, pro

PainSci summary of Quinn 2011?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★★☆?4-star ratings are for bigger/better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This study showed that runners do not get less efficient as they age, which is a bit surprising. Performance degrades with age because reduced cardiovascular fitness and strength, not due to reduced running economy. Phrased more technically by the researchers, “The results from this cross-sectional analysis suggest that age-related declines in running performance are associated with declines in maximal and submaximal cardiorespiratory variables and declines in strength and power, not because of declines in running economy.” See analysis in the New York Times.

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship that age has on factors affecting running economy (RE) in competitive distance runners. Fifty-one male and female subelite distance runners (Young [Y]: 18-39 years [n = 18]; Master [M]: 40-59 years [n = 22]; and Older [O]: 60-older [n = 11]) were measured for RE, step rate, lactate threshold (LT), VO2max, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, power, and body composition. An RE test was conducted at 4 different velocities (161, 188, 215, and 241 m·min(-1)), with subjects running for 5 minutes at each velocity. The steady-state VO2max during the last minute of each stage was recorded and plotted vs. speed, and a regression equation was formulated. A 1 × 3 analysis of variance revealed no differences in the slopes of the RE regression lines among age groups (y = 0.1827x - 0.2974; R2 = 0.9511 [Y]; y = 0.1988x - 1.0416; R2 = 0.9697 [M]; y = 0.1727x + 3.0252; R2 = 0.9618 [O]). The VO2max was significantly lower in the O group compared to in the Y and M groups (Y = 64.1 ± 3.2; M = 56.8 ± 2.7; O = 44.4 ± 1.7 mlO2·kg(-1)·min(-1)). The maximal heart rate and velocity @ LT were significantly different among all age groups (Y = 197 ± 4; M = 183 ± 2; O = 170 ± 6 b·min(-1) and Y = 289.7 ± 27.0; M = 251.5 ± 32.9; O = 212.3 ± 24.6 m·min(-1), respectively). The VO2max @ LT was significantly lower in the O group compared to in the Y and M groups (Y = 50.3 ± 2.0; M = 48.8 ± 2.9; O = 34.9 ± 3.2 mlO2·kg(-1)·min(-1)). The O group was significantly lower than in the Y and M groups in flexibility, power, and upper body strength. Multiple regression analyses showed that strength and power were significantly related to running velocity. The results from this cross-sectional analysis suggest that age-related declines in running performance are associated with declines in maximal and submaximal cardiorespiratory variables and declines in strength and power, not because of declines in running economy.


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