Children’s Muscles Recover from Exercise Faster than Endurance Athletes


A new study published by co-authors Sébastien Ratel (associate professor in Exercise Physiology at the Université Clermont Auvergne, France), and Anthony Blazevich (Professor in Biomechanics at Edith Cowan University, Australia) focused on how quickly children got tired when cycling compared to the endurance of athletes.

Previous research studies showed that children that perform physical tasks have a better endurance than adults that are not athletes.

This new study had three groups of 12 boys of ages 8-12 who didn’t usually train in physical activities. The other two groups were of adults: one group had 12 unfit adults and the third one had 13 athletes from national competitions. They all performed cycling tests, in which different things were monitored. The researchers monitored heart rate, oxygen levels and lactate and acidosis levels.

Using this information, the researchers wanted to see if the children that performed physical exercise used their aerobic or anaerobic metabolisms.

In every single test, children have outperformed all untrained adults.

Both professor Ratel and Blazevich believe that children tire easier than adults while they perform a physical activity because their cardiovascular systems are not as capable as the one of an adult. There’s also the issue of smaller bodies that don’t help much with efficient movements.

In an interview, Ratel stated that their study is significant “significant because we found that the children used more of their aerobic metabolism and were, therefore, less tired during the high-intensity physical activities than adults.”

Children Recovery Fast After Physical Activities – Faster than Athletes

Another important aspect of their study shows that the recovery time of children’s bodies is faster: “even faster than the well-trained adult endurance athletes, as demonstrated by their faster heart rate recovery and ability to better remove lactate, a metabolic byproduct contributing to muscle fatigue,” said Ratel.

With age, passing to adulthood, humans decrease in aerobic fitness, and it happens “around the time increases in diseases such as diabetes occur.”

Their study is the first step in a next research that will focus on muscular changes related to disease risk. At the moment, Ratel said that perhaps their study will “provide motivation for practitioners to maintain muscle fitness as children grow up”.


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