Anaerobic and Aerobic Capacities of Children

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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This paper deals with the measurement of aerobic and anaerobic power in children, and how these capacities are affected by growth and training. The type of tests available, the selection of ergometer, establishment of criteria for determining whether a maximal value has been attained, and the limitations of the various expressions of maximal values are discussed. Aerobic capacity, when expressed in liters per minute, has been observed to increase with growth; when expressed relative to body weight, aerobic capacity has been shown to remain the same or decrease with age. Anaerobic capacity increases with age no matter how the values are expressed. Limited evidence suggests that training during prepubescence does not increase aerobic capacity beyond that expected from growth. Several methodological limitations of longitudinal studies are examined.

This paper was developed from a presentation at the 1988 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Dallas, in a symposium titled “Physiologic Assessments of Children” organized and chaired by Jacqueline Puhl and Patty Freedson.

Linda D. Zwiren is with the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11550.

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