Endocrine Responses to Acute and Chronic Exercise in the Developing Child

Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE)


The endocrine system regulates the processes of growth and development during childhood and adolescence. Physical activity influences acute and chronic changes in several hormones. For most hormones the acute response to exercise in children is different in magnitude compared to adults: in some cases higher (e.g., cortisol) and others lower (e.g., epinephrine, testosterone). Therefore, maturation plays a vital role in dictating the hormonal responses to exercise and adaptations that may result from exercise training regimens. Most studies have evaluated the hormonal responses to acute aerobic exercise (continuous, maximal, or intermittent). Recently more research has been conducted evaluating hormonal responses to resistance exercise, mostly in adolescents. As in adulthood, excess adiposity in childhood and adolescence appears to interfere with normal hormonal secretion in response to exercise, specifically for catecholamines and growth hormone. Research has also evaluated changes with exercise training regimens assessing the impact of training on catabolic and anabolic hormones concentrations at rest and in response to exercise in adolescent athletes. Additionally, in children and adolescents with obesity, the role of exercise training research demonstrates changes in insulin and leptin as indicators of excess adiposity. This chapter presents what is currently known about acute and chronic hormonal responses to aerobic and resistance exercise, differences and similarities in adulthood, the role of puberty influencing some of these responses, and the role of obesity as a possible modifying factor.


Puberty Growth Aerobic Resistance exercise Adaptations Hormones Metabolism 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyCalifornia State University FullertonFullertonUSA

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