Research Paper Volume 11, Issue 14 pp 5276—5286
Aging induces a step-like change in the motor ability structure of athletes
- 1 Department of Physical Education, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea
- 2 Department of Sports and Leisure Studies, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601, Republic of Korea
- 3 Institute of Sport Science, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea
received: May 27, 2019 ; accepted: July 21, 2019 ; published: July 30, 2019 ;https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.102126
How to Cite
Copyright © 2019 Panday et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Many studies have investigated how aging decreases human strength and endurance. However, understanding the effect of aging on human motor ability requires more than knowledge of the separate temporal profile of individual motor function because the structure of human motor ability is multi-dimensional. We address the effect of aging on the multi-dimensional structure of human motor ability by investigating the performance records of athletes in track events across various age groups. We collected the performance records of 446 top-level decathletes whose ages ranged from 20 to 74, and performed a principal component analysis of the records in 100m, 1500m, and 400m races, which require strength, endurance, and the mixture of both, respectively. Our analysis shows that aging results in a substantial and sudden change in the motor ability structure, contrasting sharply with the gradual decrease in performance in each track event. The rapid structural change develops around the age of 50, which is much earlier than the “breakpoint” of 70 years suggested in multiple previous studies. Our findings indicate that the structural change in motor ability can significantly precede the failure in the overall motor performance.