If you've ever found yourself muttering the phrase, "I wish I could bottle up that kid's energy and sell it," then you are probably a parent. It's no secret that kids seem to have endless energy from day until night. This is probably why people suggest having kids whenever you are young so that you still have the energy to chase after them. In all seriousness though, their energy levels are covet-worthy.
It wasn't until recently though, that science actually had a firm grasp on how much energy is actually bottled up inside our kiddos and a new study shares that there is so much of it, that it surpasses that of endurance athletes. Wow, just wow.
If you've ever run a marathon, completed a kickboxing class or done a HIIT workout, you know that it might just not compare to the exhaustion you feel after chasing your kids around all day. Those little ones are quick! So quick that their fitness levels are truly on par with adult endurance athletes.
It all boils down to metabolic and fatigue profile comparisons. According to a 2018 study that was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the metabolic and fatigue profiles of 8 to 12-year-old boys were superior to those of untrained adults when tested with rigorous physical activity. In addition, they could also rebound quicker due to their efficient heart-rate recovery and the ability to remove blood lactate. Not even national-level endurance athletes were as good at recovering.
During the study, researchers tested the boys, untrained adults and endurance athletes on a series of cycling tasks. Each was assessed for their anaerobic efficiency, their bodies ability to recover and their aerobic abilities. Surprise, surprise: the children outperform the adults and rivaled the top-tier athletes.
While the researchers share that when it comes to muscular changes and disease risk as we age, there is more research to be done, this is a starting point can help motivate practitioners to maintain muscle fitness as children grow up.
And even though kids seem to have wonderful endurance levels, researchers say this doesn't mean that they need to be pushed into different activities like track or cross-country and actually suggest to have them focus more on things like sports training on the development of skills, speeds, and muscle strength, instead. This will help them enjoy sports more.