Why do some kids hate exercise?


Do you know a kid that loathes exercise?

Maybe it's your own child? This can be a source of frustration, particularly if you are into training or sport yourself. 

I remember myself as a kid, trying hard to compete but I just didn't have the power in the tank I knew I was capable of and now I know why...

The actual respiratory physiology of exercise is surprisingly, poorly understood (1). What we do know is that even the thought or preparation for exercise actually makes us breathe faster! Then, as we start to exercise, BOOM, our breathing rate rises rapidly. 

So what does this have to do with kids who don't like to exercise?

Well, most often you'll find that these kids don't breathe well. During the day sometimes and especially during the night.

This means that when they come to that initial rise in breathing rate before and during the start of exercise, they've come from a base level of breathing that is probably already a little fast then required. They also more than likely are overusing using the neck and shoulder muscles for breathing at rest as opposed to the diaphragm.

This pattern of breathing is intended for exercise, not for rest so it's a bit like having a bucket that is 3/4 full of water! There's not much room left for the over-flow and kids get puffed out and uncomfortable too quickly, often developing an aversion to exercise.  

There are other biochemical factors that play into this as well which are beyond this post. However, just from this information alone we can see the power and potential of helping children to breathe well, during the day and ideally carrying over into the nighttime too.

Breathing well will have a very positive impact on their ability to adapt and respond to exercise and ultimately influence their enjoyment of it! 

This realisation and training of breathing is what finally got me to reach my athletic potential...but I was in my early 30's! This is also the reason why I developed Happy Kids Klinic and our online breathing program, so kids don't have to suffer or become adverse to exercise and sport. 

You can check out the online program here




(1) West, B 2012, Respiratory Physiology, the Essentials Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins