Many authors have touted the physiological benefits of traverse climbing; however, very little research exists documenting the actual benefits and no research exists documenting the energy demands of traverse climbing on children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the amount of energy children use to climb on a horizontal (traverse) climbing wall.
Method Forty-nine participants (7 years to 10 years old) were recruited from a rural public school. Subjects climbed four minutes on a horizontal climbing wall while wearing an Actigraph GT3-X accelerometer on the mid-axial line of the right hip.
Analysis/Results It was determined that traverse climbing in children when measured along the horizontal axis of movement for 4 minutes was a moderate activity demanding 4 METS and boys had slightly higher expenditure level than girls, even though this difference was not statistically significant. Accelerometer data also showed that vigorous efforts (up to 7 METs) were required for short intervals within the 4-minute time period. Furthermore, one-way ANOVA revealed a significant difference among ages in total distance traveled (p < 0.01) and Bonferroni post-hoc analysis indicated that the 10-yr old group covered significantly more distance on the horizontal climbing wall compared to the 7 (p < 0.01) and 8-yr old (p < 0.01) groups.
Conclusions These results provide evidence supporting the use of climbing walls as an activity that promotes significant energy expenditure in children. Furthermore, traverse climbing is a positive alternative replacing similarly intense activities that are less appealing in the public school PE setting.
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