Nutritional Consideration in the Aging Athlete
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OBJECTIVE: : To evaluate the evidence for dietary recommendations in older adult athletes. DESIGN: : Interpretive review of the literature. RESULTS: : Regarding resistance training, a protein intake of slightly more than 0.8 g/kg/d is required to optimize gains in muscle strength. The early provision of protein and carbohydrate following a weight training session can enhance resultant strength and fat-free mass gains. Supplementation with creatine monohydrate (approximately 5 g/d) can potentiate some of the gains in strength and fat free mass attained through resistance exercise training. Regarding endurance exercise training, there are no studies evaluating carbohydrate loading, during-event, or postexercise carbohydrate/nutritional replacement in older adults. CONCLUSIONS: : The amount and timing of dietary protein is important to maximize strength and gains in fat-free mass during resistance exercise training. Creatine monohydrate supplementation can potentiate some of these gains during the first 4 to 6 months of training. Older adults should consume adequate carbohydrates during endurance training (6-8 g/kg/d) and may benefit from the provision of carbohydrate and protein in the early recovery phase following endurance exercise to maximize glycogen re-synthesis for a subsequent exercise bout. There is no scientific reason to assume that older athletes will respond differently to the pre- and during-race fluid and carbohydrate replacement strategies suggested for younger athletes. The consensus guidelines outlined by the American College of Sports Medicine should therefore be followed for all athletes, regardless of their age.
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