Children have energy levels greater than athletes, scientists find

Posted By: Patience Rutayisire - On:25/04/2018
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.

Parents beware. Youngsters have more energy and greater recovery power than even endurance athletes 

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.

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.


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