Friday, December 21, 2018

Running, Weight Training And Your Tongue Muscles

Michael Jordan and his tongue. I like Rodman too!
Last week, I wrote about why strength training and aerobic exercises are both critical to us aging well. I'm sure most of us kinda knew that already.

Turns out now that exercise, particularly endurance exercises may be useful in preventing and perhaps even treating sleep apnea and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Your tongue, just like the rest of your body, was made to move.

Let me present the latest benefits of exercising. VanRavenhorst-Bell and colleagues (2018) has shown that exercise is associated with greater tongue strength and endurance. Just as written before, not all exercises are equal.

Before you start laughing or stop reading this post, consider the following information.  You'll need good strong tongue muscles to keep your airways open while you sleep (to prevent sleep apnea). If the slow twitch muscle fibers at the back of your tongue lack endurance, it increases your chances of mouth breathing and sleep apnea.

The fast twitch muscles near the front of your tongue is important for swallowing. Our tongue muscles do get weaker as we age, which can lead to dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), making it easier for you to choke.

Ideally, you you need great endurance at the back of your tongue to avoid airway breathing problems and great strength at the front of your tongue to prevent swallowing problems.

In their study comparing weight lifters and runners who trained at least four times a week, weightlifters were found to have greater maximal tongue strength and runners have greater endurance. Reason being weightlifters would use the front of the tongue to produce forceful inhales and exhales while the rhythmic panting of endurance runners would help in greater tongue endurance.
Here's a runner with his tongue out
If you're keen to know how they test tongue strength have a look here.

So here's another reason reinforcing that there's way more physical benefits to exercising then what we know. We are definitely made to move.


VanRavenhorst-Bell HA, Coufal KL et al (2018). A Comparative Study: Tongue Muscle Performance in Weightlifters And Runners. Physiol Rep/ 6(22): e13923. DOI: 10.14814/phy2.13923.

Read the article here.

Here's 2 pictures of Michael Jordan when he was way younger.
Winning shot for North Carolina in 1982 in college
With a young John Stockton 
All the pictures I took with my iPhone X from this book "For the love of the game".
Since Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman retired, I hardly watch the NBA now.

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