Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Personal health benefits of Masters athletics competition.
  1. R J Shephard,
  2. T Kavanagh,
  3. D J Mertens,
  4. S Qureshi,
  5. M Clark
  1. Toronto Rehabilitation Centre, Canada.


    Questionnaires (750 respondents, 44.4% response rate) examined the long-term health value of endurance exercise training in older age-classed competitors ('Masters Athletes', 551 men and 199 women) over a 7-year period (1985-1992). The majority had initially completed maximal exercise tests. The weekly time devoted to training, competition and exercise-related travel was 10 to 30 h, and the annual expenditure on clothing, equipment and entrance fees was typically in the range Canadian $500-1500. Despite their age (mean(s.d.) 58(10), current range 40-81 years), only 1.4% reported sustaining a non-fatal heart attack and 0.6% had required bypass surgery over the 7-year interval. The majority (90%) were very interested in good health; 76% considered themselves as less vulnerable to viral illnesses than their peers, and 68% regarded their quality of life as much better than that of their sedentary friends. The majority of former smokers had stopped smoking before they began training, but 37% indicated that exercise had helped them in smoking withdrawal. In keeping with their health-conscious attitude, 59% had regular medical check-ups, and 86% obeyed legislation requiring use of a seat-belt when driving. In contrast with many older people, 88% slept well or very well. Slightly over half of the sample (57%) had sustained some injury which had limited their training for one or more weeks over the 7-year study. Although participation in Masters competition appears to carry considerable health benefits, gains may in part reflect an overall healthy lifestyle.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.