Bicycle ergometry, blood tests predict physical performance in elderly marathoners
Standard laboratory tests involving bicycle ergometry and blood measurements may be useful in determining physical capacity in elderly marathoners, a new study shows.
The study included 47 elderly marathon runners and cyclists (median age 65 [61 to 68] years; 4 females). Only those at least 60 years of age, with current training regimens of at least 2 hours per week and who joined at least one local competition within the last 3 years were included.
Among the baseline blood parameters measured were haemoglobin, 25(OH)D, total cholesterol, myeloperoxidase (MPO) and triglycerides. Bicycle ergometry, after at least a 1-day rest period, was performed to evaluate physical performance.
All blood measurements were within normal ranges except for total cholesterol (<200 mg/dL) and 25(OH)D (75 to 250 nmol). The relative performance of the sample was measured to be 152 (127.9 to 169.2) percent, and no statistically significant differences were recorded between the study sample and a model training sample.
Over a follow-up of 3 years, physical performance dropped slightly from 152 (127.9 to 169.2) percent at baseline to 149 (122 to 162) percent at follow-up (p=0.042). The median decrease in physical activity was 16 (12 to 22) percent and was observed in 64 percent of the study sample.
On the other hand, the remaining 36 percent of the participants showed a median improvement of 18 (3 to 20) percent.
Of all the tested blood parameters, total cholesterol (p=0.021), MPO (p=0.045), folic acid (p=0.008), blood urea nitrogen (BUN; p=0.016) and alanine aminotransferase (ALAT; p=0.007) were significantly correlated with change in physical performance.