Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
A study from France shows that a 13 week training program caused 10 and 11 year old children to develop significantly stronger hearts and an increased ability to take in and use oxygen. Boys and girls exercised at greater than 80 percent of their maximum heart rate for one hour, three times a week. The girls gained the same improvement from exercise as the boys.
Their resting heart rates decreased, signifying that their hearts could pump more blood with each beat, and they had a marked increase in their ability to exercise intensely. This study shows that children can be trained as vigorously as adults. However, children in vigorous training programs should be allowed to take days off each week and have plenty of time to be children. Another study showed that 90 percent of fourth to sixth grade children in a cross country racing program did not compete in high school.