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Child has asthma, gets tired soon. Any ideas to improve stamina?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions

I am writing about my 10 year old son. (just turned 10 in June). He is a very active kid, loves to play sports and plays the top level of hockey in our area. The issue is his stamina. Most kids I see can go and go ang go, never get tired, never slow down, never stop. Mine on the other hand, seems to get winded way more easily than his peers. To be fair, I don't know how he does compared to non-active children or school friends as his group of buddies are all competitive players in soccer, hockey, etc etc. I just find it odd how he runs out of energy so much quicker than the rest of the kids. (and compared to my younger 8 year old) First off, yes, he was diagnosed with MILD asthma. However, I was told it was very mild and he doesn't seem to be huffing and puffing.....just gets tired and stops running etc. The other thing is that he is much bigger than most of his friends, especially in thickness. He is not fat, just a big "thick" kid. (ie. his legs are twice the thickness of those of his friends) He is very fast, faster than most of his buddies but just can never keep going. My husband thought that maybe this is why but I do see other big kids and they don't seem to slow down like he does...? Also, older kids/teens are much bigger as well and they too often keep going and going. Activity wise - there is no reason. He should be in amazing shape. True, we don't do a ton of "cardio" stuff because hockey is more anaerobic but he just finished spring lacrosse. He was running a ton in that sport and played very well....problem was always by the third period he just stopped running at times....just seemed to have nothing left in the tank. Lastly, he has a great appetite. Eats a ton of meat/rice and loves chocolate milk. We could do a lot more fruits/vegetables but he does get some in and I try and force him to eat a bit better on that end. But again, this shouldn't be the whole reason he slows down as I assume he eats better than some of his friends who bounce off the walls, they have so much energy. Mine is just much more low key, acts almost like a teenager, kind of looks like one too. He is big and strong and fast but the stamina is an obstacle I would like to help him overcome....any ideas???
Posted Fri, 24 Aug 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 4 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
There are various causes of low stamina in children some very minor like inadequate hydration , nutritional deficiencies like iron ( anemia)or zinc deficiency and some pathological causes like asthma , cardiovascular disorder , pulmonary or musculoskeletal disorder.
In your child according to the details you have provided the most likely causes could be restricted lung function due to mild asthma or a nutritional deficiency .But the most probable cause is more likely just excessive physical activity without adequate warm up & hydration .
So the next best step would be to first consult his pediatrician who can rule out the pathological causes by examination and simple tests like Peak expiratory flowmetry (lung function test) and CBC etc.
Meanwhile you can try the following tips ,
1.Always start activity with a moderate-intensity warm-up that gradually increases your child's heart rate over the course of three to four minutes. Warm-up activities can be as simple as brisk walking, walking up and down stairs, arm swings, arm circles, skipping or light jogging in place.
2.Encourage your child to exercise at a moderately intense to vigorously intense level for at least 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes, depending on your child's starting fitness level. This is to be apart from his play time which is usually untimed and intense.
3.Chart your child's progress using time measurements instead of intensity levels. Measure your child's heart rate using a heart rate monitor if you really want to quantify his stamina. A heart rate monitor will allow your child to see his average heart rate during exercise, as well as calories burned, which should be enough of a measurement to show progress and keep interest.
Also remember not to compare your child with his peers , compare him to his previous stamina and praise him for even minor improvement .
Make sure you first visit his doctor before subjecting him to any exercise regimen.
Hope I have answered your query.
Kindly accept my answer if you have no further queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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