Physical activity in the School Setting: Cognitive Performance is Not Affected by Three Different Types of Acute Exercise

Vera Van den Berg, Emi Saliasi, Renate De Groot, Jelle Jolles, Mai Chin A Paw, Amika Singh, Kai Schnabel Cortina (Editor)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    23 Downloads (Pure)


    Recent studies indicate that a single bout of physical exercise can have immediatepositive effects on cognitive performance of children and adolescents. However, thetype of exercise that affects cognitive performance the most in young adolescents isnot fully understood. Therefore, this controlled study examined the acute effects ofthree types of 12-min classroom-based exercise sessions on information processingspeed and selective attention. The three conditions consisted of aerobic, coordination,and strength exercises, respectively. In particular, this study focused on the feasibilityand efficiency of introducing short bouts of exercise in the classroom. One hundredand ninety five students (5th and 6th grade; 10–13 years old) participated in a doublebaseline within-subjects design, with students acting as their own control. Exercise typewas randomly assigned to each class and acted as between-subject factor. Before andimmediately after both the control and the exercise session, students performed twocognitive tests that measured information processing speed (Letter Digit SubstitutionTest) and selective attention (d2 Test of Attention). The results revealed that exercisingat low to moderate intensity does not have an effect on the cognitive parameters testedin young adolescents. Furthermore, there were no differential effects of exercise type.The results of this study are discussed in terms of the caution which should be takenwhen conducting exercise sessions in a classroom setting aimed at improving cognitive performance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages9
    JournalFrontiers in Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2016


    • acute exercise
    • exercise type
    • cognition
    • selective attention
    • nformation processing speed
    • adolescents
    • school setting


    Dive into the research topics of 'Physical activity in the School Setting: Cognitive Performance is Not Affected by Three Different Types of Acute Exercise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this