The purpose of this study was to measure oxygen uptake and energy expenditure in children during rock climbing activity. 29 children (age = 10.9 ± 1.7 yr) participated in the study. A commercially available rock climbing structure with ample features for submaximal effort climbing provided continuous terrain. Participants were instructed to climb at a comfortable pace. Following an initial 5-min rest, each child climbed one sustained 5-min bout followed by 5-min sitting recovery for a total of 10 min (SUS). This was immediately followed by five 1-min climbing + 1-min recovery intervals for a second total of 10 min (INT). Expired air was analyzed continuously. Energy expenditure (EE) was determined via the Weir method for 10-s intervals throughout the full protocol. The total energy expenditure in kilocalories during the 10-min SUS period was 34.3 ± 11.3 kcal. Energy expenditure during the 10-min INT period averaged 39.3 ± 13.1 kcal and was significantly higher than during SUS (p < .05). The mean total EE for SUS + INT was 73.7 ± 24.2 kcal. EE was correlated with body mass; r = .86. The rock climbing tasks employed in this study produced EE levels similar to what have been reported in children for stair climbing, sports/games activities, and easy jogging.
The authors are with the School of Health and Human Performance, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.