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Delayed Effects of Coordination Exercises on Attention Span in Children

Delayed Effects of Coordination Exercises

Perceptual and Motor Skills published research on the effects of an acute bout of coordinative exercise in physical education on the attention of  90 primary school children.  The experimental group consisted of 48 children who received a cognitively demanding physical education 45 minute lesson consisting of different coordination exercises.  The control group consisted of 42 children who attended a normal sedentary school lesson learning language skills.

The coordination tasks were cognitively demanding physical activities that required specific higher-order cognitive processes, such as executive functions.  The experimental group started the lesson with 7 minutes of running to music where specific actions had to be performed based on certain words that were said in the song (ie touch the ground when a certain word was sung).  The group then started exercises in 6 different stations with various levels of difficulty.  Some examples of the stations were:  balance on a bench while bouncing a basketball in one hand and a volleyball, catch a ball with a certain hand based on the color of the ball, obstacle course and pass a ball to a partner a certain way based on the color of the ball.

Each participant was evaluated before, immediately after and 90 minutes after each experimental condition with the d2 Test of Attention.   The results indicated the following:

  1. children’s attentional performance increased in the experimental group that participated in the physical education lesson, not immediately but 90 min. after completion of the coordination exercises.

The authors concluded that delayed attention span benefits from acute physical activity are important for the overall learning process, because increased attention is a necessary component to achieve academic success.

You can read the full text article here http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/10.2466/22.06.PMS.121c22x1

Reference: Mirko Schmidt, Fabienne Egger, and Achim Conzelmann (2015) DELAYED POSITIVE EFFECTS OF AN ACUTE BOUT OF COORDINATIVE EXERCISE ON CHILDREN’S ATTENTION. Perceptual and Motor Skills: Volume 121, Issue , pp. 431-446.

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