Eusport News #BeActive Tips and Tricks Children have energy levels greater than endurance athletes, scientists find

Children have energy levels greater than endurance athletes, scientists find

Parents run ragged by their children may have suspected it all along.

Youngsters have greater energy levels than professional endurance athletes, scientists have discovered, meaning it is virtually impossible for the average adult to keep up.

And for mothers and fathers hoping that tiring out their little ones will ensure a good night’s sleep, be warned.

Children also have a impressive recovery time, and will be back to their hyperactive best quicker than parents can say ‘lie in.’

“We found the children used more of their aerobic metabolism and were therefore less tired during the high-intensity physical activities," said Sebastien Ratel, Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology who completed this study at the Université Clermont Auvergne, France.

“They also recovered very quickly - even faster than the well-trained adult endurance athletes - as demonstrated by their faster heart-rate recovery and ability to remove blood lactate.

“This may explain why children seem to have the ability to play and play and play, long after adults have become tired.”

Previous studies have shown that children do not tire as quickly as untrained adults during physical tasks and it was suggested they had energy profiles comparable to endurance athletes, but there was no evidence to prove it until now.

To find out, the researchers recruited 12 youngsters aged between nine and 11, 12 untrained men and 13 male endurance athletes who were national-level triathlon competitors or long-distance runners and cyclists.

All were asked to perform two seven second resistance sprints, followed by one minute recovery while their aerobic energy output was measured. On a second visit they were asked to complete the Wingate Cycle Test, which measures anaerobic output by asking participants to cycle as fast as they can for 30 seconds.

Because anaerobic exercise does not use oxygen it produces acidosis and lactate (often referred to as, lactic acid), which causes muscle fatigue. The participants' heart-rate, oxygen levels and lactate-removal rates were checked after the cycling tasks to see how quickly they recovered.

It was found that children not only have fatigue-resistant muscles, but recover very quickly from high-intensity exercise - even faster than the well-trained adult endurance athletes.

During the Wingate test untrained adult’s power output fell by 51.8 per cent, and athletes by 41.8 per cent, but children’s only decreased by 35.2 per cent.

The researchers believe the findings could help develop athletic potential in children as well as improve our understanding of how our bodies change from childhood to adulthood.

How to keep your children fit

Integrate exercise into their lifestyles

Children's fitness expert Amanda Frolich of amandasactionclub.co.uk urges parents to spend time outside with kids before spending money on gym memberships. "Your child's health is more important than anything else you do, including your job, so it is time we started to make it our priority," she says. "Children love kicking and chasing a ball. They also love to be chased. At the playground, challenge them to play on as many pieces of equipment as possible, with 30-second bursts of activity on each."

Space it out

Children should be doing an hour of exercise each day, according to Government guidelines. But activity can be spread out in shorter bursts through a day. Amanda says: "Walk, scooter or cycle with them to school. Or park the car 10 minutes away from the gates and walk the rest of the way. Set aside time for a family workout before dinner. There are some great seven-minute workouts on apps you can buy."

Check they are supervised

According to Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum: "If parents do want to enrol their children in gyms, they should check there will be qualified people supervising them who make sure they use equipment like weights properly. It's important not to put any undue pressure on their bone growth plates because these determine the future length and shape of children's mature bones."
“Many parents ask about the best way to develop their child's athletic potential,” said co-author Anthony Blazevich, Professor in Biomechanics at Edith Cowan University, Australia.

“Our study shows that muscle endurance is often very good in children, so it might be better to focus on other areas of fitness such as their sports technique, sprint speed or muscle strength.

“This may help to optimize physical training in children, so that they perform better and enjoy sports more."

Dr Ratel added: “Our research indicates that aerobic fitness, at least at the muscle level, decreases significantly as children move into adulthood -- which is around the time increases in diseases such as diabetes occur.

"It will be interesting in future research to determine whether the muscular changes we have observed are directly related to disease risk. At least, our results might provide motivation for practitioners to maintain muscle fitness as children grow up; it seems that being a child might be healthy for us."
Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/04/24/children-have-energy-levels-greater-endurance-athletes-scientists/
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