Int J Sports Med 1987; 08(4): 292-297
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1025672
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Physiologic Responses to Treadmill Running in Adult and Prepubertal Males

T. W. Rowland, J. A. Auchinachie, T. J. Keenan, G. M. Green
  • Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Tufts University
    School of Medicine
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Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


Little data are available directly comparing physiologic responses to endurance exercise in children and adults. To evaluate age related differences during maximal and sub-maximal treadmill exercise, physiologic parameters recorded during testing of 20 active prepubertal boys (aged 9-13 years) were compared with values obtained in nonathletic adult males aged 23-33 years. Maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) was 57.9 ml · kg-1 · min-1 (6.9 SD) in the boys and 48.3 ml · kg-1 · min-1 (4.9 SD) in the adults. Running economy examined both as VO2 at a treadmill speed of 9.6 kph and as the slope of linear regression of VO2 at four submaximal speeds was less in boys compared to men when values were expressed per kg body mass. Differences in running economy between the two groups disappeared, however, when related to body surface area. As expected, children had a higher stride frequency at a given treadmill speed, but running stride frequency was unrelated to economy with the two groups. Lower respiratory exchange ratios were observed at maximal and submaximal exercise in the children, which may reflect diminished anaerobic capacity or differences in substrate utilization. These results substantiate the high aerobic capacity previously observed in children and suggest that lower running economy in younger subjects may largely relate to a greater body surface are/mass ratio.