For all the parents and grandparents who keep wondering how their children seem to have the ability and strength to play on forever without a hint of tiredness you are very near to getting an answer to it! It might not be the first time that your child fails to sleep early even after an entire day spent playing outside, dancing around and missing out on the afternoon nap. You might be so tired after a party that even walking around seems to be a punishment but for your child, he/she is ready to explore the whole place until it is closed for the day. The same kids feel it a pain to walk until the bus stop, tire easily during physical tasks and need to strain more to keep up to your pace. So, where does all the energy come from when they are playing around and where does it disappear when they are required to walk or do physical tasks?
Mole to a Mountain: Children to Endurance Athletes
It is common to see a child getting tired easily during intense physical tasks as they are equipped with limited cardiovascular capacity, are not much aware of effective movement patterns and are required to pump in more efforts (for example, in terms of steps to cover the distance) for completing a task.
There have been studies that put forth the theory that children’s energy levels could be compared to that of an endurance athlete but there were no solid proofs backing this theory. But the current research shows that children overcome their limitations by developing fatigue-resistant muscles and their ability to recover rapidly from high-intensity exercises.
The study group asked three different groups namely boys aged between 8 and 12, untrained adults and the third group comprising of endurance athletes to perform cycling tasks. Neither of the first two groups participated in regular high-intensity physical activity whereas the last group were national-level participants who excelled in long-distance running and cycling.
After the cycling exercise each of the groups were assessed for the body’s two different ways of producing energy-aerobic and anaerobic. The first way uses oxygen from the blood whereas in the second way there is no oxygen used, it produces acidosis and lactate and hence, contributes towards muscle fatigue. Each of the participant’s heart rate, oxygen levels and lactate-removal rates were measured to check their rate of recovery after the exercise (cycling).
Surprisingly, children performed way better than any of the adults in all the tests as they used more of their aerobic metabolism and this made them feel less tired comparatively during high-intensity physical activities. Their recovery rates were also comparatively faster in terms of heart rate and their ability to remove blood lactate. This is more than enough to explain the never-ending energy that children have and their eagerness to play along forever, long after adults become tired. Besides activity kids need nutritious foods too to keep them going on packed with energy. For the right recommendations on portion sizes and the nutrient quantities suitable for kids get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Taking the Best Out of your Child
Children often have good muscle endurance skills and it is up to parents to nurture their other skills to extract the kid’s athletic talents and help them perform better.
A sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity are great risk factors for diseases and it is essential to understand growth-related changes that might increase the risk of disease. Studies show that aerobic fitness (at muscle level) decreases as one grows up. Reaching adulthood is a major phase of life as this is the time around which the risk of diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol too increase. There are speculations surrounding the risk of diseases due to muscular changes but on the positive note, it also pushes us to maintain muscle fitness of kids as they grow up.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.