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Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal

Motor and cognitive development: the role of karate

Original Article, 114 - 120
doi: 10.11138/mltj/2014.4.2.114
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Abstract
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Background: regular physical activity has an effect on biological responses in both muscles and organs that, in turn, alter the structure and functions of the brain. Therefore, this study aims at comparing motor (sprint, coordination ability and explosive legs strength skills) and cognitive abilities (working memory, attention, executive functioning) in children.
Methods: 39 children with average chronological age of 9 years were divided in: Karatekas (n=19) and Sedentary (n=20) groups. Their abilities were measured by motor and cognitive tests. Motor skills were assessed through a battery composed by the 20 mt Sprint test, the Agility test and the Standing board jump Test. Cognitive profile was assessed by a battery of tests derived from BVN 5-11, “Batteria di Valutazione Neuropsicologica per l’Età Evolutiva”: Visual discrimination test, Reaction time test, Forwards and Backwards Digit Span Tests, Corsi Block-Tapping test and Tower of London.
Results: our results reveal significant differences between two groups (p < 0.05). Karate children show better speed times, explosive legs strength and coordination skills. They scored better on working memory, visual selective attention and executive functions. Conclusion: karate exercise training shows global benefits resulting in physiological and psychological gains in children.

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