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Active Kids – Where Do They Get All That Energy?
You know that feeling when the kids are charging up and down the stairs playing hide and seek and you can only find the energy to get up for another caffeine fix from the coffee machine. Or when you take them to the park and you have to see-saw and swing and slide for hours when you would much rather lounge on your picnic blanket and watch the kids doing their own swinging and sliding! It’s a fact that kids seem to have an abundance of energy and even the fittest adult can be run ragged by a 2 year old tot! So how do they manage to keep going? Let’s look at a few theories.
They are growing
Little children are little power houses, creating energy from food to help them grow. Their bodies are very efficient at using food to fuel their growth. Their metabolism is higher so they convert food into energy faster than adults. Their heart beats faster and pumps energy-carrying blood to their bones and muscles to aid their growth. A surplus of energy means kids will burn it off by being active.
They don’t waste energy by being stressed or through thinking
Another theory suggests that adults are far more bogged down using mental energy than children. When you feel stressed, or if you have spent some time concentrating hard at something that is relatively sedentary, you may feel tired or exhausted even. A child wastes very little energy in thought. They are learning all the time, but they don’t think as deeply as adults.
Kids’ bodies are younger
Well this one seems pretty obvious – a younger model is bound to work better than an older one – just compare an old banger of a car to a new one! But, put simply, the energy in your body is stored in molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) as well as phosphocreatine. When your body breaks down these molecules into useable energy, free-radicals are produced as a by-product and these speed up the aging process. So it seems that in producing energy, adult bodies have aged and become ‘damaged’ by free-radicals and less able to produce energy in an efficient way like children.
Kids get more rest
Kids need and will happily sleep for 10-12 hours every day to replenish their energy pack. Compare that to an average adult who gets 6-10 hours sleep. Of course there is the chance that by simply having kids, your sleep is compromised. Not many mums and dads get more than 8 hours sleep with a baby or toddler in the house!
Kids have so much to learn and explore
A young human has so much to learn and explore. In fact all young mammals have an abundance of energy to explore their environment. Have you ever observed puppies bounding all over their poor exhasted mum (and often she has half a dozen of the little so-and-sos to watch!) Arguably, a human child has far more to learn. Language, morals, ettiquette, rules and such-like, therefore, genetically, they are programmed to take it all in during their waking hours.
So there you have it, next time you have to take a rain-check and sit on the sidelines of the footie field, or take a book to the soft-play centre, don’t feel a bit guilty! Just sit and enjoy the rest whilst they burn off their energy before (an early) bedtime!