Musculo-skeletal system

Children’s body systems are unlike adult’s body systems and therefore have many limitations when it comes to physical activity. In order to explain what these limitations are and how they affect children during physical activity it is necessary to discuss certain body systems. These systems are the cardio-respiratory system, the musculo-system, the energy systems, the thermo-regulatory systems and the nervous systems.

The cardio respiratory system is a muscular pumping device used to spread blood round the body to the muscles (BUPA website 2006). The cardiovascular system has many functions including pumping the blood to the tissues which releases the oxygen and nutrients into the cells and the waste product which comes from the cells including, carbon dioxide and water which is then absorbed back into the blood stream and this deoxygenated blood is then taken back to the heart to start the cycle again. Children will feel short term and long term effects to the cardio respiratory system during and after exercise.

Some of the short term effects include an ncreased heart rate meaing the quantity of blood pumped by the heart increases to match the increased demand of the respiratory system (Obolynx website, 2010). Also, there is an increase in stroke volume as well. According to the Obolynx wesbite (2010), this means that the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle in the heart in one pump, increases. The body needs more oxygen during exercise and the only way to get more oxygen is to increase the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle per heart beat(Mathers, 2008).

There are also long term effects with a child’s cardio-respiratory system, the heart will over time become more effective at transporting blood and in turn making a childs heart stronger. This is due to the fact that during exercise, you heart has to work harder, and harder until it gets used to it so that when no exercise is being done , it is very efficient because it can work a lot harder than it is. However, with children they tire quicker and have smaller hearts which means they cannot last as long as adults so they can only do so much before they have to stop.

The implications for coaches of children are that they have to make sure they do not work the children for too long or too hard. Although they become fitter the more the exercise they can still only handle so much exercise before it becomes too much for them. For instance, with children you might be better with just having a 5 minute warm up so they are not running about for too long before the proper coaching session has started.

The muscular- skeletal system is the combination of the muscular system and the skeletal system. In terms of the musculo-skeltal system it is important to take into account that certain exercise can hurt a child while they are growing. For example, rebounding, vigorous throwing and the use of weight where rapid change of direction are involved can be damaging to a child’s growing body. Children’s bones and muscles are always growing right up until the final Ossification (cartilage becomes bone) occurs between the ages of 18-22 years of age (Turner, 2010). This means that the child’s body is delicate and if too much stress is put on it at a young age it can cause many different bone injuries. Some of these injuries include, Osgood -Schlatters Disease which occurs at the knee joint and is caused due to the patella tendon pulling on the shin bone. According to Turner (2010), such things as bunny hops and other movements that put excessive pressure on the knee joint over 90 degrees can cause this type of injury.

Flexibility is also a factor that needs to be considered when discussing children and the musculo-skelatal system. According to answer fitness website (2009), flexibility is defined as the ability to move joints or muscles through their full-range of motion. When it comes to children it is recommended that you use dynamic stretches when trying to improve children’s flexibility as this puts less strain on the children’s body. If a coach were to use static stretches it may put to much strain on the muscles. In terms of how a person should be coaching they need to make sure that any coaching session does not put too much strain on the muscles or bones of the children. If they do not do so then children may end up with injuries such as Osgood-schlatters disease.

There are two energy systems that are important when discussing children and how they are limited in physical activity, they are the anaerobic and aerobic systems. According to the Teach PE website (2010), the anaerobic system is provides energy in the absence of oxygen. It is a system that is used in the first few minutes of exercise before the aerobic system kicks in and starts providing the body with energy. It is best used in fast explosive sports such as the 60 or 100 metres sprint.

In comparison the aerobic system works with oxygen however it requires time for the oxygenated blood to pass through the body to limbs and muscles, which is why the anaerobic system starts working first before the aerobic system eventually takes over. However, when it comes to children, their aerobic systems are not really fully developed so they tend to rely more on their anaerobic systems. This means that coaches need to think about how they coach a session in terms of how long they have the children running about for before they have a break or stop. Children will only be able to run about for a short time before they get tired. However, they are able to go at a high intensity for a short time then have a break and then go back to working at a high intensity and so on.

When it comes to children they are a lot more sensitive to heat than adults, which is to do with their thermo-regulatory system. Children will heat up faster than adults and cool down quicker than adults as well. According to Turner (2010, pg 93), because children are smaller they have a relatively large surface area compared with adults. This means that children exchange heat faster than adults do which is why the warm up and cool down quicker than adults.

This effects the way in which the coach plans there session because they have to make sure that their session makes sure they are not running about to much that they become too hot and also that they run about enough to keep them warm. On very hot days the coach should make sure they have water on hand for the children and encourage them to drink it before, during and after practise and organise regular breaks. On a very cold day they need to make sure that all the children are warmed up, have warm enough clothing on and make sure that breaks in between practices are not too long that the children end up feeling cold.

Another system that coaches must consider when looking at children’s limitations is the nervous system. This involves such things as the maturity level of the child and their decision making capabilities. The coach has to take into account how much the child can be trusted to make good decision for their self or whether the coach needs to step in and make those decisions for them. Also, are the mature enough to be able to work in a team effectively or are they going to be immature and want to play by themselves and not share, for example when they get the ball and basketball and dribble up and shoot and miss when there was a better option open to them but it meant passing the ball to another player and them not be able to shoot. Also the coach has to discover what a child’s skill level is.

If they are a young child then they will not be able to do certain practises that older children around 14 might be able to do. So it is important for the coach to not make practices too hard for the child but they also need to challenge the child as well otherwise they will never grow into a good athlete. Also, when making up drills for the children to do the coach needs to remember to not make them too complicated for the young children because they may not be able to remember all the commands in the practise. The best way is to break the practise down and get the children to do it bit by bit and then once they have got it make them do the whole practice together.

In conclusion, children have many limitations when it comes to physical activity. These limitations include the fact that children’s bodies need time to grow so cannot do things that adults can do. Their cardio respiratory systems is still growing as they grow and in turn means that their heart rate and stroke volume which means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood round the body so children cannot keep going as long as adults.

So coaches need to be aware of this and make sure sessions are not too long. Also, because their bodies are still growing coaches need to be aware of working the muscles and bones too much in case they cause the child an injury such as Osgood Schaltters disease. Furthermore, because children’s aerobic systems are not fully developed they can only work at a high intensity for a short while before they need to stop. They also warm up quicker and cool down quicker which means the coach needs to make sure they do not become to hot or too cold. Also, the coach needs to work the children at the right level keeping them challenged but not over challenged.

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