A comparative study on tongue muscle performance in weightlifters and runners
Various factors of physical exercise (e.g., mode, intensity) are known to affect directly and indirectly targeted muscles in the skeletal system, however, few research efforts have been directed towards delineating how exercise factors indirectly impact muscles of the tongue. Research regarding the indirect effects of exercise on tongue strength and endurance has importance because tongue strength and endurance are important for daily functional tasks such as swallowing, speaking, and maintaining upper airway patency. Furthermore, tongue muscle performance declines with age. The purpose of this study was to determine if tongue muscle performance (i.e., strength, endurance) differs between individuals who regularly engage in a resistance mode of exercise (weightlifting) and endurance mode of exercise (running). Additionally, the study sought to determine if anterior and posterior tongue muscle performance were differentially affected in individuals that were weightlifters and endurance runners. A total of 45 healthy young adults, 19-29 years of age, were divided into two groups based on the exercise mode they regularly engage in: 1) weightlifting, and 2) running. The Iowa Oral Performance Instrument was used to measure tongue strength and tongue endurance. Measurements were obtained in the anterior and posterior regions of the tongue. Results showed that tongue endurance was significantly greater in runners than weightlifters with a more pronounced difference in the anterior region of the tongue. It was also observed that, tongue strength was greater in weightlifters than runners, particularly in the anterior region of the tongue. These findings are in line with earlier studies on indirect exercise effects on skeletal muscles. In conclusion, this study suggests that exercise may indirectly influence tongue strength and endurance; however, future research is necessary to better understand the indirect effect of each factor of exercise on tongue muscle performance.