Sport participation and vigilance in children: Influence of different sport expertise
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Childhood and youthCognitive skillsPhysical activitySustained attention
Ballester, R., Huertas, F., Molina, E., & Sanabria, D. (2018). Sport participation and vigilance in children: Influence of different sport expertise. Journal of sport and health science, 7(4), 497-504.
SponsorshipThis research was supported by a Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Cultura predoctoral grant (FPU13-05605) to RB and project research grants: Junta de Andalucia Proyecto de Excelencia (SEJ-6414), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (PSI2013-46385) to DS and FH, and Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (PSI2016-75956-P) to DS.
PURPOSE: The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between different types of sport expertise (externally-paced vs. self-paced sports) and vigilance performance in children by evaluating the cardiovascular fitness level of the participants. METHODS: Three groups of children (11.0 ± 0.2 years) differentiated in terms of their regular sport participation (football players, n = 20; track and field athletes, n = 20; non-athletic controls, n = 20) took part in the study. In one session, participants performed the Leger Multi-stage fitness test to estimate their aerobic fitness level. In another session, participants completed the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) to evaluate their vigilance performance under 2 conditions of velocity demands (normal vs. speed). RESULTS: The results revealed that both groups of sport practitioners had higher cardiovascular fitness than non-athlete controls. In contrast, no significant differences in the performance PVT were found between track and field athletes and controls. Crucially, football players showed better performance in the PVT than track and field athletes and controls. These between-group differences were not modulated by the speed demands of the task. CONCLUSION: The major novel finding of this research points to a positive relationship between sport participation and vigilance performance during childhood. We discuss our results in terms of the different hypotheses put forward in the literature to explain the relationship between regular exercise and cognitive functioning: the "cardiovascular fitness" and the "cognitive component skills" hypotheses.