Aging of Competitive AthletesTanaka H.
Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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Demographics of human aging are rapidly changing. As illustrated in the biomedicalization of aging, an ever increasing number of older adults is affected by a variety of clinical conditions and diseases, including vascular stiffening, sarcopenia, physical disability, and poor quality of life. One population that is situated in the opposite end of the health and functional spectrum to the sedentary frail elderly is Masters athletes. These older competitive athletes are endowed with substantial functional capacity, overall long-term health, high motivation, and psychosocial outlook. Masters athletes are combating the dogma and negative stereotypes of older adults and aging. From the scientific standpoint, examining Masters athletes can provide insight into preventive gerontology, primary prevention of age-related diseases and dysfunctions, and exercise-based medical practices. Moreover, the study on Masters athletes is simply joyous and entertaining as they often remind us what can be possible in aging.
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