Physical Activity, Trips, Events

What you need to know


Exercise has many benefits to the body including; increasing the ability to move, maintaining balance, flexing the joints, improving moods, decreasing depression and anxiety, decreasing the onset of diabetes and heart disorder, increasing energy production in the body and can increase the number of healthy mitochondrial in the cells.

  • Moderation is important - don’t under or overdo it.
  • Exercise tolerance may change day to day. Teach children to listen to their bodies.
  • Maintain a supportive environmental temperature.
  • Choose activities in which a child can be successful.
  • Balance fatigue and rest.
  • Time activities to optimize success.
  • Hydration is important.
  • Avoid exercise during illness or when in a fasting state.
  • Some types of mitochondrial disorder have actual weakness not just decreased endurance, so strength exercise may be important and can improve strength.
    • Should have rest between exercises to allow muscles to recover.
    • Resistance exercise (weights) can be performed.
    • Sprinting may be hard because muscles can’t regroup and rest. 
    • Some individuals may develop rhyabdomyosis (the breakdown of muscle tissue which leads to muscle fibers contents leaking into the blood) when they overdo it.
      • This may lead to painful cramps and muscle breakdown, which may lead to myoglobin from the muscle passing into the urine.
    • For for information, see Mito Action Blog - Exercise.

Field Trips:

Any change in routine may produce anxiety, fears, and/or worry:

  • Offer anticipatory guidance and preparation to prepare for a change in routine such as a field trip.
  • Create a picture story about the upcoming event. The child can rehearse it alone or with others.
  • If a child has any sensory, hearing or vision issues, he/she may need preferred seating.
  • If child is using a wheelchair, make sure transportation and accessibility needs have been considered.

What you can do

  • The amount of exercise an individual can do may vary from day to day with the individual.  It is important to find what type of exercise and intensity works best for the child.
  • Things to avoid:
    • Cold may result in severe heat loss and trigger an energy crisis.
      • Child should be dressed for the weather when going outside.
      • Child should avoid over exposure to cold for a long period of time.
    • Heat stress may be worse because of the inability to sweat normally.
      • Heat exhaustion and heat stroke may occur.
      • Avoid direct sunlight.
      • Stay indoors and use air conditioner.
      • Encourage hydration and frequent water breaks.
    • Psychological stress:
      • Stress may result in temporary or sometimes permanent worsening of condition.
      • Support the child emotionally.
  • Avoid:
    • Starvation or fasting
    • Lack of sleep
    • Illness, toxins
    • Alcohol
    • Cigarette smoke
    • MSG
  • The MitoAction website has an exercise guide to follow.
  • For those that live in New England (USA) and qualify, Northeast Passage offers Therapeutic Recreation and Adaptive Sports programming (

Field Trips:

  • Offer anticipatory guidance and preparation for any changes in routine.
  • Offer supports as needed for vision and hearing issues.
  • If there will be lots of walking, the child may need the option of alternative methods of transportation (wheelchair, etc.).