Pediatric Exercise Physiology: A Primer

Article excerpt

The primary aim of this symposium is to provide a comprehensive overview of current knowledge regarding physiological responses to exercise in children and adolescents. Emphasis will be placed on understanding how physical growth and maturation influence the developing functional capacities of the exercising child. Following a brief introduction, Freedson will describe and interpret acute cardiovascular responses and chronic cardiovascular adaptations to exercise in children and youth. The second speaker, Pivarnik, will discuss aerobic fitness testing in children and adolescents. Morgan, the third speaker, will discuss factors influencing the submaximal aerobic demands of walking and running during childhood. The final speaker, Mahon, will conclude by describing acute physiological responses and chronic adaptations that occur in younger and older children who engage in anaerobic and resistance training. Where appropriate, unresolved questions and future research directions will be noted. It is hoped that this symposium will provide attendees with a basic understanding of children's exercise responses and stimulate interest in conducting research in pediatric exercise physiology.

Cardiovascular Responses to Exercise in Children and Adolescents

Patty S. Freedson, University of Massachusetts

The aim of this presentation is to describe and interpret the acute cardiovascular responses and chronic cardiovascular adaptations to exercise in children and youth. For the first part of this presentation, specific attention will be directed towards examining how the heart responds to submaximal and maximal exercise, with a particular focus on heart rate and stroke volume and the determinants of these responses. How body size governs these responses will be discussed in the context of dimensionality theory and it's application. The second part of this presentation will summarize the trainability of the cardiovascular system of children and youth. A critical examination of the research literature pertaining to the adaptability of the cardiovascular system in response to a training stimulus will be presented for pre-and postpubescent children and adolescents. Particular focus will be on the experimental designs employed in training studies, the size of the training stimulus, and outcome variables used. A brie f conclusion regarding future directions for research will be presented.

Aerobic Fitness Testing in Children and Adolescents

James M. Pivarnik, Michigan State University

For many years, aerobic fitness ([VO.sub.2]max) testing in youth has been important to rehabilitative health care providers and researchers interested in learning the diagnostic and therapeutic benefits of exercise. In recent years, [VO.sub.2]max testing has become an integral part of other research areas. This is due, in part, to a high number of youths participating in sports. Results from [VO.sub.2]max tests can help coaches determine how their young athletes respond to intensive training programs. Longitudinal testing may provide valuable information to researchers regarding the effects of training over and above those attributable to normal growth and development. …