Interest in the physiological responses to exercise unique to the pediatric age group has grown exponentially over the past 50 years. A number of issues surrounding children’s exercise have been particularly responsible for this trend, particularly a) recognition of the health benefits of exercise in youth, b) the growing involvement of young persons in highly intense levels of sports play, and c) the role that exercise may play in the diagnosis and management of children with chronic disease. As a consequence, current research to date has provided a comprehensive picture of the features specific to children’s response to exercise. Future challenges facing the field of pediatric exercise science involve translating this information into practical guidelines which can be applied to the realms of clinical medical practice, preventive health initiatives, and athletic training regimens which are appropriate for this age group.
The author is with the Dept. of Pediatrics, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA.