Masters athletes face unique physiological and nutritional challenges

Nutrition, Sports | June, 13 2014

Opening Commentary:

Regardless of age or level of ability, I am a firm believer that being healthy and fit should be a goal we all strive to achieve. For more than 30 years, I have coached and encouraged people of all backgrounds to take a holistic approach to personal wellness that enhances the mind, strengthens the body, and nurtures the spirit. 

Taking a holistic approach means that in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, we must pay close attention to our energy balance equation. In addition to regular physical activity, good nutrition is also critical to ensuring athletes maintain a competitive edge as they age, and reach new heights in their sports or recreational activities throughout their lifespan. Proper nutrition includes staying hydrated and consistently consuming complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats. When older “masters” athletes are fueled by the right nutrients, they can achieve better performance outcomes. 

I was once an avid student and later became an instructor of karate. Like other sports, karate requires a regimented, intensive training routine that includes mental preparation as well as strength training and conditioning. In addition to the physical training, though, healthy eating habits have kept me energized, motivated, and prepared to compete at a high level and train others in a variety of sports and disciplines throughout my life including now, as a grandfather. 

In this issue, Stella L. Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN, FACSM, and Rachel C. Kelley, BS, look at the recent rise in masters athletes and explore their unique nutritional needs. The article reviews the physiological changes that occur with age and the specific nutrition requirements for these athletes to perform at their best.

View the full issue of Elevate Health.

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