Welcome to Apple Creek Sports Medicine

The Aging Athlete 1

The Aging Athlete 1

The Aging Athlete – Importance of Self Care
Tina Haghighi – Physiothetherapist Resident

Aging athelete can be referred to individuals over the age of 50 years old. In our early years our performance levels are higher and the need for recovery time is less. As we age, our performance levels begin to decline and the demand for recovery time increases. Research suggests that, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis-related falls, and collagen changes are amongst the 3 risk factors in older athletes [1].


According to the literature, regular physical activity minimizes age negative effects on platelet aggregation and therefore decreasing the risk of coronary artery schema and other vascular abnormalities [2]. Altogether, exercise has been shown to improve the risk of cardiovascular disease in aging athletes.


Regular physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of falls in older athletes. Furthermore, exercise has been shown to prevent the decline in bone density in aging and reduce the risk of osteoporosis fractures. A study [3] showed a….

  • 10 percent reduction in falls incidence for individuals who completed endurance,resistance and flexibility training programs.
  • 17 percent reduction in falls incidence for individuals who complete balance training.
  • 48 percent reduction in falls incidence for individuals who practice Tai Chi.
CollagenAging is correlated with a decrease in the amount of collagen, which corresponds to a decrease in the tensile strength of tendons and an increase in the stiffness of the tendons [4]. However, exercise such as high intensity internal training (HIIT), stimulates the production of collagen.

In conclusion, as we age our body goes through changes and the body mechanics of an aging athlete is different compared o a younger competitor. However, the greatest threat to the health of an aging athlete is not the aging process rather inactivity [5]. Therefore, through regular exercise we can help mitigate the effects of aging in older athletes. If you would like to learn more about this topic, I highly recommend reading the research paper by Pyron (2002).


  1. Pyron, M. I. (2002). The aging athlete: risks and benefits of exercise. Current Opinion in Orthopaedics, 13(2), 128-133.
  2. Gonzales, F., Manas, M., Seiquer, I., Quiles, J., Mataix, F. J., Huertas, J. R., & Martinez-Victoria, E. (1996). Blood platelet function in healthy individuals of different ages. Effects of exercise and exercise conditioning. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 36(2), 112-116.
  3. Hennekens, C. H. (2000). Brisk walking and vigorous exercise provide similar cardiovascular disease benefits. European Heart Journal, 21(19), 1559-1559.
  4. Maharam, L. G., Bauman, P. A., Kalman, D., Skolnik, H., & Perle, S. M. (1999). Masters athletes. Sports medicine, 28(4), 273-285.
  5. Menard, D., & Stanish, W. D. (1989). The aging athlete. The American journal of sports medicine, 17(2), 187-196.