Study: Children who move show better attention

This study shows the effects of exercise on attention skills in children with and without learning disabilities
Kinder Lernen

Squeeze some physical exercise inbetween studying; there is probably some truth in the rules and wisdom of many grandmothers. The present study investigated the direct effects of acute, deliberate exercise and sustained attention in children with and without learning disabilities using our test DAUF, DT.

Although the existing literature supports a positive relationship between movement and cognitive abilities in children, the effects in children with learning disabilities have not yet been investigated.

The present study used a sample of 51 children with learning disabilities (29 boys and 22 girls) with an average age of 11-13 years and 49 (23 boys and 26 girls) of the same age without learning disabilities. In a first step, the DT and DAUF tests were explained to the children before they finally performed them. This was followed by the treatment phase, in which the training group was instructed to train on a treadmill for 30 minutes. In the posttest phase, which started within 5-10 min after the end of the treatment, the participants were again asked to complete the determination test and the sustained attention test. The entire experimental trial lasted 90 min.

The results of the study indicate that a higher accuracy rate and a fast reaction time were improved in response to a short training session. The results also showed that the effect was greater in children with learning disabilities than in the other children. Preliminary explanations for the effects could be the influences on the regulation of mental states and the allocation of attentional resources. Given the positive effects of physical activity on certain cognitive functions in children with learning disabilities, schools and the parents of children with learning disabilities should consider maximising the opportunities these children have to engage in moderate-intensity, structured aerobic exercise.

Huang, C., Tu, H., Hsueh, M., Chiu, Y., Huang, M., & Chou, C. (2020). Effects of Acute Aerobic Exercise on Executive Function in Children With and Without Learning Disability: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 37(4), 404-422. Retrieved May 5, 2021, from

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