Reason #2,682 To Be a Triathlete

>> Thursday, January 19, 2012

(The first 2,681 reasons have to do with semi-legitimate reasons for men to shave different parts of their body. But you already knew that.)

This image speaks for itself:

This image is part of an article that Laura McIntyre (a physiotherapist and 2:52 marathoner) recently wrote about. She noted that "20 weeks of resistance training in older adults can result in a 1 kg increase in lean body mass. This is in contrast to a 0.18 kg annual decline that often occurs with a sedentary lifestyle beyond 50 years of age."

Here's more of what Laura has to say:

Lifelong intense activity is encouraged. A Canadian study looked at highly trained lifelong (30+ years) runners and compared them to healthy recreationally active young and age-matched controls. They looked at the number of motor units which consist of one nerve together with all the muscle fibers it stimulates. Normally the number of motor units gradually declines with age. The masters runners had a greater number of motor units compared to their age-matched controls and a similar number compared to the young. The authors concluded that lifelong high-intensity physical activity has the potential to limit the loss of motor units associated with natural aging well into the 7th decade of life.

Older athletes are pushing the limits of what was previously thought impossible. At this years Scotiabank Toronto marathon 100 year old Fauja Singh finished the marathon and 80 year old Ed Whitlock finished in an astonishing 3:15. For most sports there is a well-maintained but declining sports performance well into the 60’s years of age. Rowing has shown well-maintained performances into the 70’s.

The view that at an advanced age, load-bearing intensity should be reduced in order to avoid injuries and chronic overuse is widespread and not supported by recent evidence. Healthy aging adults should be capable of safe participation. The risk of side effects is very low if the dose is adapted to the client. However, adults who are pregnant, frail, have a disability or a medical condition should consult a health professional to understand the types or amounts of physical activity appropriate for them based on their exercise capacity and specific health risks or limitations.

As is generally accepted for novice trainers of any age, resistance exercises should initially include a period of low volume and low intensity before gradually progressing over time. Once familiar with resistance exercises a classic training program consists of 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions at an intensity of 70 to 80% of a maximum lift where the maximum lift can be assumed. A selection of 8 to 10 exercises performed on 2 non-consecutive days per week is recommended. Optimal training in older adults is fundamentally similar to optimal training in younger adults.

Older adults may need more recovery days and reduced frequency of either high volume or high intensity training. Cross training might be particularly useful for the recovery days.

Lifelong exercise has many benefits. Get out there and enjoy your training.

Actually, that's the majority of what she had to say... I wanted to quote almost all of it. For more on this (including references), go to Laura McIntyre's article here.

Now, as she says, get out there and enjoy your training!


Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman 7:55 AM, January 19, 2012  

It's so true! Staying active is incredibly key for anyone as they get older.

I'd love to see how the brain activity compares as well.

My Boring Triathlon Blog 8:31 AM, January 19, 2012  

Go Ed Whitlock!

I can't beat his 5 km, 10 km, half marathon (1:34 in 2010) or his marathon (2:59 in 2003) times.

He's 35 years older than me! Doh

Katie 9:20 AM, January 19, 2012  

Great info! But if I was my adviser, I would have to give you HELL about not telling us what the pictures are RIGHT AWAY. I guess they're quads, but at first I had absolutely no clue what part of the body I was looking at :-)

Robyn 10:53 AM, January 19, 2012  

Has to be upper leg (including femurs, quads, hamstrings, abductors and adductors): They're side by side with no body trunk intervening, so they must be legs not arms, and there's only a single bone, so they're not lower leg (which has tibia and fibula). This has been your anatomy geek moment.

Jennifer 7:46 AM, January 20, 2012  

At first I thought they were boobs. :) Great post, passed it on to my AARP eligible husband immediately.

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