By Emily Delzell
Researchers reported in February that integrative neuromuscular training (INT) enhances motor skills in girls, improving fitness and offering potential protection from development of risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament tears and other musculoskeletal injuries.
A multicenter team of researchers recruited 40 healthy children aged about 7 years into two groups; controls (13 girls), who took regular physical exercise (PE) classes, and an intervention group (11 girls) that used 15 minutes of regular PE for INT, which consisted of body-weight exercises.
Researchers compared performance at baseline and eight weeks with fitness tests including curl-up, standing long jump, single-leg hop, single-leg balance, and .8-km run. Girls in the intervention group had statistically significant improvements on the curl-up, long jump, single-leg hop, and .8-km run compared with controls; boys in the INT group, however, showed significant changes compared with controls in only one performance measure, the single-leg hop.
Investigators, who hypothesized girls may be at a developmental stage that increases sensitivity to INT, concluded the intervention is cost-effective, time-efficient, and enhances motor skills in children. The Journal of Athletic Training epublished the results on February 3.
Faigenbaum AD, Myer GD, Farrell A, et al. Integrative neuromuscular training and sex-specific fitness performance in 7-year-old children: an exploratory investigation. J Athl Train 2014 February 3. [Epub ahead of print]