chapter  2
Physiological Changes Affecting Performance of Masters Athletes
Pages 28

Masters athletes are classified as older individuals who systematically train for and compete in organized forms of competitive sport. Each sport’s national or international governing body determines the age at which masters competition begins, normally between 30-40 years of age. During recent decades there has been an increase in the number of active older individuals who can be classified as recreational or competitive athletes who focus on sports performance. For example, the inaugural World Masters Games held in Toronto, Canada in 1985 had 8305 participants from 61 countries competing across 22 sports, while the 2009 World Masters Games held in Sydney, Australia saw 28,676 competitors from 95 countries competing in 28 sports in the largest organized sports event ever held to date. Data from the most recent 2013 World Masters Games in Torino, Italy say approximately 20,000 competitors took part in 29 different sports [1]. However, it is well documented that performance across a range of sports declines with advancing age [2-5]. Given the popularity and size of the competitive masters sports movement, it is surprising that little research data exist that reports on the physiological mechanisms responsible for the observed declines in performance with advancing age.