Children are as fit as professional athletes, study reports

Avatar By Joseph Scalise | 3 years ago

The muscles of children are more functional than the muscles in adults and they have a higher recovery rate than top athletes, according to a new study in the journal Physiology.

This research comes from scientists at Université Clermont Auvergne, who made the discovery by analyzing three different groups of people. One had 12 boys between the ages of eight and twelve, 12 “unfit” adults, and 13 national competition-level athletes. Throughout the study, all of the subjects were put through cycling tests. Once they finished, researchers then measured how quickly the participants recovered by measuring their heart rate, oxygen levels, and lactate levels.

Data showed that children easily outperformed all of the adults, regardless of how in shape they were.

“Children also recovered very quickly, 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 study co-author Sébastien Ratel, an associate professor in Exercise Physiology at the Université Clermont Auvergne, according to Tech Times.

The team initially conducted the study as a way to figure out how aging adults could improve their health. There are many diseases linked to sedentary lifestyles, and the new research also found that children lose their “aerobic fitness” as they get older.

Scientists hope the findings will encourage children to work harder to fight against inactivity. In addition, the study sheds new light on the aging process. Further research into the conclusions could help medical professionals better understand the way getting older is linked to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.

“With the rise in diseases related to physical inactivity, it is helpful to understand the physiological changes with growth that might contribute to the risk of disease,” said Ratel, according to ABC Online.