Boost the morale of older athletes by letting them know that, in certain sports, age is an advantage, according to findings published in the European Journal of Sport Science (2021; doi:10.1080/17461391.2020.1867240). Iranian and Australian researchers analyzed peak-performance age and age-related progression in elite track-and-field athletes.

Among the study findings: Women achieve peak performance at a later age than men in most disciplines; athletes who peak at an early age have shorter careers; and peak hand-grip strength occurs in ages 30–39 for both genders, favoring older discus and javelin throwers. Also, marathoners and race walkers are likely to achieve best performances at a later age than sprinters, hurdlers and middle-distance runners, as a result of muscle fiber type and skill acquisition.

The purpose of the research was to help with setting goals, managing expectations, identifying talent at the right age and preventing injuries, according to principal investigator, Roger Eston, PhD, executive dean of allied health and human performance, University of South Australia.

See also: Training Techniques for High-Performance Older Athletes