Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Senior' runners never stop pushing their limits in marathons

Date:
January 24, 2012
Source:
INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale)
Summary:
Researchers have analyzed changes in participation and performance of runners aged 20 to 80 in the New York marathon over the last 30 years. The results are largely unexpected: the best male marathon runners over 65 and the best female marathon runners over 45 have consistently improved their performance over the last 30 years.

Romauld Lepers and Thomas Cattagni, researchers from Inserm Unit 1093 "Cognition, Action and Sensorimotor Plasticity" at the Université de Bourgogone, have analysed changes in participation and performance of runners aged 20 to 80 in the New York marathon over the last 30 years. The results are largely unexpected: the best male marathon runners over 65 and the best female marathon runners over 45 have consistently improved their performance over the last 30 years. At the same time, the researchers also observed a strong increase in athletes over 40 participating in the New York marathon: from 36% of the total masculine runners between 1980-1989, to 53% between 2000-2009; and from 24 to 40% during the same periods for female runners.

Details of these descriptive analyses were published in the AGE review, The Official Journal of the American Aging Association.

Inserm researchers analysed the chronometric performances of competitors in the New York marathon in accordance with age and sex over the 1980-2009 period. They classified runners who successfully completed he race into 10 separate age categories (20-29; 30-39; then every 5 years from between 40 and 79).

Although the average times achieved by the 10 best male and female athletes in age categories below 60-64 have not changed over the last 30 years, there was a sharp decrease in times for the senior age categories: for an average marathon time achieved of 3 hours and 50 minutes, men in the 65-69 age category improved by 8 minutes between 1980-1989 and 1990-1999, and 7 minutes between 1990-1999 and 2000-2009. Similarly, the average time achieved by women in age categories above 45-49 fell significantly. For example, the average performance for the 55-59 age category improved by 33 minutes between 1980-1989 and 1990-1999 (for an average race time of 4 hours and 20 minutes), and by 8 minutes between 1990-1999 and 2000-2009.

The researchers have thus concluded that, over the last two decades, the performances of the best male marathon runners over 65 and the best female marathon runners over 45 have particularly improved, whereas their younger counterparts have remained stable.

"The improved performances can be explained by the increased number of participants in these age categories, as well as the increased interest this age population has in terms of the benefits of physical activity on health and well being" says Romuald Lepers, whose research into motor function plasticity during aging is part of the overall research of Inserm Unit 1093 "Cognition, Action and Sensorimotor Plasticity," directed by Thierry Pozzo.

In recent years, the gap in performance between men and women has stabilized, in all age categories, suggesting that the decline in physiological functions with age is similar for both sexes. The mechanisms via which physical activity acts advantageously in terms of slowing down aging-related processes remain to be explored. For the researchers, this initial data on athletes over 40, combined with new physiology and sociology data, will lead to improved understanding of the role physical exercise has in "aging well."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Romuald Lepers, Thomas Cattagni. Do older athletes reach limits in their performance during marathon running? AGE, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s11357-011-9271-z

Cite This Page:

INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). "'Senior' runners never stop pushing their limits in marathons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119102012.htm>.
INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). (2012, January 24). 'Senior' runners never stop pushing their limits in marathons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119102012.htm
INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). "'Senior' runners never stop pushing their limits in marathons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119102012.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins