Acute Effect of Cognitive Compromise during Physical Exercise on Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Education
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BicycleExecutive functionsPhysical activityCognitive implication
Ureña, N.; Fernández, N.; Cárdenas, D.; Madinabeitia, I.; Alarcón, F. Acute Effect of Cognitive Compromise during Physical Exercise on Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Education. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9325. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249325
SponsorshipSpanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Secretaria de Estado de Investigacion, Desarrollo e Innovacion) DEP2017-8987-R
Self-regulation (SR) in pre-schoolers is a strong predictor of different aspects of mental health and wellbeing. However, SR only recently has been examined concerning physical activity and its effects on cognitive performance. In the present study, 49 preschool children aged 4–5 years were submitted to classroom movement breaks (CMBs) of 15-min with different degrees of difficulty. Before beginning the intervention, SR (i.e., head, toes, knees and shoulders test, HTKS) and skill levels were assessed for tasks demand adjustment to individual resources and the counterbalanced assignment of the participants to the groups. Similarly, after the intervention, the performance on the HTKS was re-evaluated. There was a general intervention effect on the SR of pre-schoolers, regardless of the difficulty level of the task [F (3) = 11.683, p-value < 0.001, η 2p = 0.438]. Nevertheless, it seems that only when CMBs stimulate the children cognitively with optimal difficulty, is it possible to obtain benefits. We recommend providing teachers with professional support when implementing physical activity breaks in their daily program to generate an individualized level of cognitive load that would allow children to reach the optimal challenge point.