Physiological effects of ageing
There is little doubt that the physiology and performance abilities of older people are different from younger athletes. When you are about seven to nine years old agility, balance and coordination start to improve as the central nervous system develops. When getting older there is a progressive deterioration in physical capabilities. The reduction in physical capabilities is usually a consequence of a decrease in the efficiency of the body’s major systems and how it adapts to exercise. When ageing flexibility is restricted and body fat is increased, muscle atrophy and osteoporosis. When ageing the body also forms additional collagen fibres throughout major organs and skeletal muscles.
Maximum heart rate
Maximum heart rate decreases at an average rate of 1 or 2 beats per year. Extra collagen fibres form between the hearts muscles fibres reducing the hearts elasticity and stroke volume. Maximum heart rate = 220 – age (in years) is a rough approximation of the change in maximum heart rate with age. So your maximum heart rate will lower the older you get. This lower heart rate means that maximum cardiac output is also reduced which also means reduced blood flow which means a lower stroke volume. Age also affects an athlete’s blood pressure. A normal blood pressure reading for a healthy adult is 120/80mm Hg. However, arterioles are known to lose their elasticity with age and this raises resistance of the thousands of arterioles in the body. Therefore, the pressure generated by cardiac output remains high. This could then lead to high systolic level of blood pressure because the heart has to apply extra force to push blood around the stiffened arterioles. Regular exercise can lower these effects. Age related stiffening of the arterioles can lead to reduced blood supply to vital organs and almost certainly reduces an individual’s exercise capabilities this is a condition known as arteriosclerosis .Symptoms of arteriosclerosis include an elevated heart rate and increased systolic blood pressure.
When getting older your lung volume is reduced. Your respiratory systems ability to carry out gas exchanges under exercise is reduced. The lung volume is decreased because extra collagen fibres form in the lungs which decrease elasticity.
As you age collagen fibres increase, this will mean stiffening throughout the body’s skeletal muscles and tendons. The stiffening is from the muscle sheath become thicker and stiffer. A loss of muscle mass know as sarcopenia occurs because muscle proteins start to degrade more rapidly than they can replaced because skeletal muscle forms much of a persons body mass, lean body weight and muscle strength decline with sarcopenia this can happen by the time you reach 30.
Age is a factor during exercise in heat due to a delay in sweating. Researchers have found out that the ability to cope with moderate temperature change as you get older does not deteriorate with age. Some research has indicated that the age sometimes assists with heat toleration. A reduction in the efficiency of all homeostatic mechanisms especially that of temperature control and severely affect all aspects of exercise programme.
Regular exercise helps reverse sarcopenia. People who didn’t do any exercise when they were younger often have an increase in muscle mass and muscular strength when they begin training seriously during middle age.
Recovery periods are determined largely by the physical condition of a person. However ageing does affect a number of factors. Ageing affects the ability to synthesise protein which results in loss of lean muscle mass. This loss reduces the basal metabolic rate which is the amount of energy you must consume to survive at rest. So even if there is no increase in food intake body fat levels will still rise. When you put theses factors together it means smaller muscles have less capacity to store glycogen and will have to work with more intensity to exercise a body containing increased fat levels. This means glycogen levels are likely to be used more rapidly so the recovery process will take longer. A loss of nerve cells in the brain affects all aspects of body movement, so the ageing process is likely to result in a decrease in the control of complex motor units. This places more pressure on the reduced skeletal muscle mass and further depletes their energy sources due to their increased inefficiency. Which then mean glycogen levels are likely to be depleted more readily so the recovery process is likely to be longer. So ageing can mean it will take longer to recovery after exercise but steady state exercise of the correct type can at overcome the recovery process and still be able to recovery at the same speed.
Aerobic and anaerobic capacity
As you get older your maximum heart rate decreases. This means your stroke volume does to and an increase in resting heart rate is necessary to satisfy the needs of the cardiovascular system. This gets worse because of the hardening of the arteries which increases the resting systolic blood pressure. All these factors make recovery after exercise to take longer. Age also means it’s harder for the body to utilise oxygen. VO2 maximum reaches its peak for an athlete between the ages of 18 and 25 years. After 25 the VO2 maximum declines steadily so that by the age of 55 a person’s VO2 maximum will have declined by approximately 25 per cent.
People who take part in regular physical activity are more likely to maintain a healthy VO2 maximum than those who don’t. So this could mean that it doesn’t matter if your getting older you still can maintain a healthy VO2 maximum but the ageing process still has a significant impact on the abilities of an individual.
Anaerobic capacity also decreases with age. Muscle and strength are lost and a greater concentration of slow-twitch fibres are formed this is included in anaerobic capacity decreasing. Also the myelinated sheaths around muscle tissue also make reaction times much slower.
Overheating is likely to occur in hot conditions if the athlete is dehydrated. There is no link between age and the increased risk of dehydration leading to hyperthermia. So an adult want get overheated before a young person while taking part in sport whatever the circumstances.
The heat controlling mechanisms of the body eventually become unable to deal with heat appropriately so the body’s temperature gets to dangerous levels. Hyperthermia is an advanced stage of heat or sun stroke which the body absorbs more heat that it can get rid of. It usually occurs as a result of overexposure to excessive heat, especially in competition.
“This lower heart rate means that maximum cardiac output is also reduced which also means reduced blood flow which means a lower stroke volume” This shows that the maximum heart rate will decrease which will mean the maximum cardiac output will decrease and so will stroke volume. This reduced blood flow will mean that less oxygen is pumped around the body which will then mean a decrease in athlete’s aerobic activity like marathons and other endurance events.
“When getting older your lung volume is reduced. Your respiratory systems ability to carry out gas exchanges under exercise is reduced. The lung volume is decreased because extra collagen fibres form in the lungs which decrease elasticity.” This shows as you get older your lung volume is reduced. It shows it is reduced be extra collagen fibres forming in the lungs which decrease elasticity. The decrease in lung volume will affect athletes like cyclist who need to breath in a lot of oxygen for there working muscles and breath out carbon dioxide, but this is harder because your respiratory ability to carry out gas exchanges are reduced.
“As you age collagen fibres increase, this will mean stiffening throughout the body’s skeletal muscles and tendons. The stiffening is from the muscle sheath become thicker and stiffer.” This shows that as you get older you become less flexible because collagen fibres increase. It shows that the body’s skeletal muscles and tendons stiffen. The stiffening of the body’s skeletal muscles and tendons will mean gymnastics will become less flexible and won’t be able to perform the same activates they could do when they were younger.
“Age is a factor during exercise in heat due to a delay in sweating. Researchers have found out that the ability to cope with moderate temperature change as you get older does not deteriorate with age.” This shows that the body copes with temperature the same and doesn’t depend on age. Its shows that as you get older temperature change does not deteriorate.
“Ageing can mean it will take longer to recovery after exercise but steady state exercise of the correct type can at overcome the recovery process and still be able to recovery at the same speed.” This shows that as you get older it takes longer to recovery after exercise however, performing the right steady state exercise can help you overcome the recovery process and still be able to recovery at the same speed. This means bodybuilders at different ages can still be recovering at the same speed despite their age.
“Muscle and strength are lost and a greater concentration of slow-twitch fibres are formed this is included in anaerobic capacity decreasing.” This shows as you age anaerobic capacity decreases. It also shows muscle and strength are lost. This means as you age you will be weaker so in sports like Olympic weight lifting you will lose strength so performs will decrease.
“Overheating is likely to occur in hot conditions if the athlete is dehydrated. There is no link between age and the increased risk of dehydration leading to hyperthermia.” This shows that overheating can occur in hot conditions and doesn’t matter what age you are you can still get over heated. It shows that their no link between age and the increased risk of dehydration.