Exercise Physiology

At the Exercise Physiology Lab at Boston Children's Hospital, we use exercise tests—such as running on a treadmill—to predict how your or your child’s cardiopulmonary system responds to exercise or other physical activities. We perform more than 1,900 exercise tests each year.

The Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Boston Children's performs more than 1,900 exercise tests each year. The most sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology is used to obtain the most reliable and clinically useful data. Formal exercise testing can provide valuable and objective insights into a patient's cardiopulmonary condition and capacity.

Most clinical tests done by pediatric cardiologists (other than exercise tests), assess the cardiopulmonary system when a patient is at rest (lying still). Although valuable, these tests do not necessarily predict how a patient's cardiopulmonary system will respond to the demands of exercise, or measure the patient's true capacity to perform physical activities. The testing done in Boston Children's Exercise Physiology Laboratory provides this assessment.

Exercise can actually help children with congenital heart defects

A study led by Boston Children’s found that, while many children with serious congenital heart defects are urged to restrict activity, most of these children can, in fact, benefit from regular exercise. A 12-week study found that heart function improved in 15 out of 16 children, and some as high as 20 percent.