Research regarding exercise-induced muscle-damage mainly focuses on adults. The present study examined exercise-induced muscle-damage responses in adults compared with children.
Eleven healthy boys (10–12 y) and 15 healthy men (18–45 y) performed 5 sets of 15 maximal eccentric contractions of the knee extensors. Range of motion (ROM), delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) during squat and walking, and peak isometric, concentric and eccentric torque were assessed before, post, 24, 48, 72, and 96 hr postexercise. Creatine kinase (CK) activity was assessed before and 72 hr postexercise.
Eccentric exercise resulted in DOMS during squat that persisted for up to 96h in men, and 48 hr in boys (p < .05), and DOMS during walking that persisted for up to 72 hr in men, and 48 hr in boys (p < .01). The ROM was lower in both age groups 48 hr postexercise (p < .001). Isometric (p < .001), concentric (p < .01) and eccentric (p < .01) force decreased post, and up to 48 hr postexercise in men. Except for a reduction in isometric force immediately after exercise, no other changes occurred in boys’ isokinetic force. CK activity increased in men at 72 hr postexercise compared with pre exercise levels (p = .05).
Our data provide further confirmation that children are less susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage compared with adults.