Muscle Strength

Muscles play a significant role in the body. They are the reason we can walk, climb, run and be able to carry things. Muscles and bones work together, and they either become stronger together or weaker together. They go hand in hand. Practically muscles categorize in two terms, muscle strength is how strong the child is and muscle endurance is how long the child’s muscles can work. Both are interrelated and necessary for kids to perform actions in their day-to-day life. They help children to perform everyday functions such as, fine motor skills (holding pencils, cleaning teeth) and gross motor skills (walking, running, carrying school bags, playground skills such as  catching and throwing balls and hitting the ball with a bat). Another benefit is, when children have good muscle strength, they are more likely to have stronger ligaments, tendons, healthy bones which reduce the risk of serious injuries. Sometimes, low muscles strength is diagnosed just after a few days of birth at regular health check-ups. In other cases it can be identified later when gross motor activities are delayed.

How to know there is problem in kids muscle strength?

  • Seem limp when you lift them
  • Taking time to reach developmental milestones (sit, crawl, walk)
  • Avoid physical activities
  • Give up sports activity in middle (due to low endurance)
  • Unable to perform same skills as their peer
  • Difficulty in performing movements safely
  • Exert more energy and effort to complete a task
  • Get tired frequently
  • Struggles to get up and down from the floor
  • Find it difficult to maintain posture

Proper sleep, balanced diet and strengthening exercises can help to boost kids muscles strength and endurance. A healthy diet is necessary to give your kids muscles, the building blocks to become stronger.

Child muscle strength food groups

Calcium: Calcium is not only required for strong bones and teeth but is also vital for muscle strength and energy metabolism. Muscles rely on calcium to be able to contract. (What are calcium rich foods?)

Protein: Protein is the building block of muscles. It is one of the most essential macronutrients for muscle growth and repair. Numerous studies show that eating an adequate amount of protein can help increase muscle mass and muscle strength. (How to easily consume protein?)

Vitamin D: In many observational studies, vitamin D correlates positively with muscle strength and postural stability. Vitamin D is linked to healthy hormones like testosterone which help with muscle maintenance and growth. It allows the body to absorb calcium. Active vitamin D in the bloodstream can also be associated with improved muscle strength. (How to get Vitamin-D everyday?)

Magnesium: Magnesium has been shown to significantly increase muscle strength. It plays a vital role dealing with the structure and function of the body. Adequate magnesium seems necessary for maintaining optimal muscle performance, exercise tolerance and providing kids with energy to enjoy sports activities. (How does magnesium help with stress and menstruation pain?)

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates is another important group of foods for boosting your kids muscle strength. That is because carbohydrates partially converted glycogen, which is a form of energy stored in muscles. (What are some weight gain foods for kids?)

Fats: Body relies on fats to supply energy to muscles. Fat plays most important role in maintaining overall health and muscle strength. Focusing on healthy fats can help to build up muscle strength. (Is fat good or bad for the body?)

Iron: About 70% of body's iron found in red blood cells called haemoglobin and in muscle cell called myoglobin. Haemoglobin is essential for transporting oxygen in the blood and myoglobin, in muscles cell.  Iron deficiency can lead to functional disabilities and lack of muscle strength in kids. It is as important as other food groups for gaining muscle strength. (What are some iron rich foods?)

Vitamin B 12: Vitamin B12 helps the body to produce red blood cells, which are responsible for delivering oxygen to the muscles. This action makes B12 a key player in developing kids muscle strength.

Muscle strength food for kids

Eggs: Eggs are loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats, B Vitamins, phosphorus, Vitamin D and choline. It contains a large amount of amino acid leucine, which is particularly important for muscle strength. The egg yolk is imperative to meet the demands of the body for healthy fats. Adding two eggs to the diet provides 120 calories along with 12g of protein and so much more nutrition for the body.

Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese is high in protein and is great to include in diet if looking to gain muscle strength. It contains slow digesting casein protein. The amino acid found in casein can supply the body with muscle building fuel. Evening snack of cottage cheese is a great way to build kids muscle strength.  

Beans:  Beans are excellent sources of protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Different varieties of beans like black, pinto and kidney beans can be used for muscle gain.  Kidney beans contain a higher amount of omega3 fatty acids as compared to other beans, which also plays a vital role in muscle strengthening.

Whey protein: Whey protein is the purest form of protein and our body absorbs it faster than any other protein, hence helping in muscle building and tissue repair. Whey is considered to be complete protein because it contains 9 essential amino acids and has low lactose content which makes it easily digestible. Leucine present in whey helps with building muscles too.  Whey is derived from cow’s milk which is made up of 80% casein and 20% of whey. It is a left over fluid when yogurt is curdled during the process of cheese production.  Whey protein is known as one of the best child muscle strength foods.

Banana: Bananas are high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and Vitamin B9. The fruit is also rich in carbohydrates and is a source of instant energy. Bananas are fairly high in three types: natural sugar, fructose, sucrose and glucose. These sugars are of prime importance for building and repairing muscles.

Almonds: Almonds are packed with vitamin E which is beneficial for your kids muscles. With 8g of protein in just a handful of nuts is highly nutritious and has more protein than an egg. Manganese, copper, Iron and Vitamin B2 present in Almond helps in keeping the energy level high in kids. Eating almonds can lead to more energy and stronger muscles.

Soybean: Soybean is derived from high protein content, which is higher than all other beans grown for consumption. 100 gm of soybean can contain approximately 52 grams of protein. The unsaturated fats and presence of vitamins and minerals makes soy bean one of the healthiest alternatives that help in strengthening muscles. We can consider it as one of the  best child muscle strength foods.