If you were intelligent throughout your academic life, chances are you will be more physically-fit as you grow older. A new research by researchers from University of Copenhagen has revealed a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The findings suggest that higher the intelligence score, the better physical performance.
Rikke Hodal Meincke from the center for healthy aging and the department of public health said, "Our study clearly shows that the higher intelligence score in early adulthood, the stronger the participants' back, legs and hands are in midlife. Their balance is also better."
For the study, the researchers employed several tests like handgrip strength, balance and chair-rise when measuring physical performance among 2,848 Danish males born in 1953 and in 1959-61. Meincke said, "Former studies have taught us that the better the results of these midlife tests, the greater the chance of avoiding a decrease in physical performance in old age."
With a 10-point increase in intelligence score, the results revealed a 0.5 kg increase in lower back force, one cm increase in jumping height- an expression of leg muscle power, 0.7 kg increase in hand-grip strength, 3.7% improved balance and 1.1 more chair-rises in 30 seconds. A feasible explanation for this trend could be that people with a higher intelligence score find it easier to understand and interpret health information and thus have a healthier lifestyle.
Menicke further added, "For instance, they exercise more regularly. Exercise can thus be viewed as a mechanism that explains the connection between intelligence and physical performance." The findings of the study are important for the future planning and targeting of initiatives that may help improve or maintain elderly peoples' physical performance.
The study is published in the Journal of Aging and Health.