We don’t often associate muscle strength with memory, but evidence is mounting that muscle strength contributes to a child’s ability to retain information.
To understand the impact of muscle strength on memory and cognitive function, it’s important to first know about how low muscle tone impacts intellectual development in children.
Low muscle tone and learning.
Children who have low muscle tone are challenged to keep up, both intellectually and physically. It’s been proven that children with this condition, from whatever origin, often struggle in the classroom and at home, with homework.
Their ability to focus is deterred by reduced endurance. Unable to stay the course, these children often fall behind unnecessarily, when there are so many therapeutic options to help them. Low muscle impacts every area of their lives – even the ability to speak clearly and get through a day of classes.
Muscle strength and memory.
Research conducted by Northeastern University in Boston, MA has confirmed the link between muscle strength and memory in kids. 79 children, aged 9 to 11 years, participated in the research project, which measured muscle strength and aerobic capacity, as well as academic and memory capabilities.
Researchers found that kids with more intense muscle strength routinely scored higher on memory and math tests. The study sample included both boys and girls and the results were the same across both sexes.
The theory at work as to why muscle strength supports memory and intellectual capacity is sited in the brain and how readily it forms connections with neurons.
Published earlier this year in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the study is preliminary in nature, but has opened the door to further study into the phenomenon.
Why it matters.
Discovering a link between muscle strength and memory in kids is deeply important in an age of sedentary lifestyles. Children of all ages in the USA spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in front of a variety of screens and monitors, from the television to the mobile device.
Sadly, only 1/3 of US children are physically active every day, according to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. It’s extremely revealing to note that almost 8 hours of every American child’s day is spent in front of a television or video game.
The findings of the NUB research are a call to arms. Linking muscle strength with cognitive functions in children tells us that parents must foster an interest in physical activity in their children. They should also be setting an example, as the sedentary life many children lead has its origins in the home and parental behaviors.
Is muscle strength connected to better memory in kids? While the findings of the study are preliminary, it’s clear they’re the basis for a new front in the war on obesity, diabetes and underachievement at school. We think that’s a war worth fighting, because healthier kids are smarter kids who become healthier, smarter adults.
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