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Masters Athletes relative performance decline across the lifespan. (A) Performance, relative to the youngest age group, declined linearly across age group for young adults (25–44 years; r = −0.916, r2 = 0.839, p < 0.001; y = −0.248x + 101.68), middle-aged adults (45–69 years; r = −0.993, r2 = 0.986, p < 0.001; y = −0.875x + 99.22) and older adults (70–89 years; r = −0.991, r2 = 0.982, p < 0.001; y = −1.202x + 78.14) on average (open circles). Each grey line represents performance data from a single event including data for men from 2 years (2006, 2007) of World Championships for triathlons of Olympic and Ironman distance (Lepers, Sultana, Bernard, Hausswirth, & Brisswalter, 2010), top 10 World performances for men and women from a 25-year period (1986–2011) for freestyle swimming of championship performance distances (50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 m) (Senefeld et al., 2016), and top 10 performances of all time from road marathon racing (Senefeld et al., 2016) in 5-year age groups from 25 years up to 74 years for triathlon, 89 years for swimming and 84 years for marathon. (B) From the same datasets, the average relative performance declined linearly across age group with similar slope coefficients compared to the group data for men (blue circles) and women (red triangles) for young adults (−0.231 vs. −0.271 for men and women, respectively), middle-aged adults (−0.809 vs. −0.961, respectively) and older adults (−1.068 vs. −1.314, respectively). Middle- and older-aged women had larger magnitude slope coefficients compared with the men, reflecting greater reductions in performance across the lifespan for women. Data were extracted from Senefeld and colleagues (Senefeld et al., 2016).

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