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How Does Age Affect Stamina in Sports?

by
author image Brandon Mathis
Brandon Mathis has been freelance writing since 2007, covering health, mountain sports, lifestyle and travel. His work has appeared in "The Mountain Gazette," "The Durango Telegraph," "Inside/Outside Southwest Magazine," "Climbing Magazine" and more. With a Bachelor of Arts in humanities, he has a background in archeology, the winter sports industry and photography.
How Does Age Affect Stamina in Sports?
Stamina tends to decrease as you age, which means you need to adjust the way you exercise--not stop. Photo Credit old man running image by jimcox40 from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

As your body ages, it begins to change, and active people may notice a reduction in performance to some degree. Stamina is the body's ability to endure prolonged activity like exercise, and aging effects the muscles as well, so as your muscle reaction slows, your body works harder to perform in challenging conditions. This is natural, and is best addressed by adjusting a few simple things like diet, exercise and recovery.

Natural Effects of Aging on the Body

Although everyone experiences the process of aging differently, based on thing like genetics and lifestyle, in general the aging human body evolves through a series of changes, mostly beginning around the age of 40. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, muscles begin to lose tissue and fiber mass, decreasing the ability to respond to activity. Tendons lose water, making them less effective. The heart weakens, causing you to tire more rapidly, and your metabolism slows, making it easier to add weight. Bones can weaken and become more prone to fracture.

Muscle Strength and Age

As your muscle groups reduce in size, fiber and tissue, they lose their ability to react to resistance. This process may take longer in highly active people, but does occur in everyone. In a study published by the "Journal of Applied Physiology," healthy men and women over 60 showed a drastic loss of muscle reaction ability in their knees and ankles when compared with younger subjects.

Combatting the Effects of Age

While these things occur naturally, it's easy to address them. According to the National Ceneter for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, exercise and activity can have lasting benefits later in life, so it's important to stay healthy by continuing to play sports or some kind of daily activity like walking, exercising or active hobbies. Maintaining a healthy diet and eating high levels of protein for healthy muscles is more important than ever for aging athletes.

Metabolism

With a slowing metabolism, your body increases the amount of time it takes to convert food into energy, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, so without some way to jump start our metabolism, like physical activity, you won't burn nearly as many excess calories. This can lead to increased cholesterol, heart and weight problems. Plus, as you age it's harder to regain fitness.

Diet And Lifetsyle

There are perhaps no better ways to maintain optimum health and stamina as you than following good diet and lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables are strongly recommended as they are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that your body requires, along with pursuing a daily regiment of exercise and positive activities. Sports of any kind can be enjoyed for years while you age, and performance can even improve.

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