MAINTENANCE OF SKILLED PERFORMANCE WITH AGE: Lessons from the Masters
Worldwide life expectancy is climbing approximately three months per year (Oeppen & Vaupel, 2002). But despite the positive consequences associated with this trend, a significant proportion of older persons will spend this extended lifespan in ill health. Considerable research, much of it summarized in other chapters of this book, indicates a regular and predictable decline in physical and cognitive performance with advancing age. Examinations of variables ranging from reaction time (Etnier et al., 2003; Fozard et al., 1994) to components of memory (Henry et al., 2004), muscular strength (Kallman et al., 1990) and flexibility (Einkauf et al., 1987) imply a downward spiral of functional ability with age.