SPORT UND MENTALE GESUNDHEIT
CHANGE IN COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE THROUGH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AT SCHOOL – AN INTERVENTION STUDY OF UTILIZING AN ERGOMETER IN EVERYDAY SCHOOL LIFE
SABRINA PÖPPING UND LENA KLUGE
Keywords: intervention, ergometer, concentration, calculation, children, school
Physical activity has a positive effect on the intelligence, school performance and cognitive skills of children and adolescents (Tomporowski et al., 2008; Hillmann et al., 2009). The concept of the active school also takes advantage of this. It is designed to significantly increase the amount of physical activity the students spend over time (Laging, 2006). The school Sportbetonte Oberschule Ronzelenstraße in Bremen, which endorses physical activity during lessons, is trying to implement this concept through their project ergometer class. This involves utilizing an ergometer during lessons (Auner & Wolf, 2018). We suspected that this kind of physical activity may impact cognitive skills of school children. We there-fore hypothesized that school children using an ergometer during the lesson will show higher scores in concentration and mathematical tests than school children not using an ergometer. The present study was conducted as a pre-post-interventional study. Participants were 48 German school children of a 5th and 6th class of a primary school in Bremen (20 female, Mage = 11.27 SDage = .84). We measured concentration and mathematical skills by using paper-pencils-tests (concentration: according to the d2-test, Brickenkamp, 1962; calculation: according to the KONT-P, Satow, 2011). All school children completed the test twice: at the beginning of the school lesson and at the end of the school lesson. School children were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (using ergometer, N = 23) or to the control group (not using the ergometer, N = 25). School children in the experimental group used the ergometer ten minutes on a low intensity level. Because there was a limited amount of three ergom-eters, school children of the experimental group had to rotate. We predicted and found that school chil-dren in the experimental group showed higher scores on the concentration and mathematical tests than school children in the control group (concentration: F(1, 46) = 5.87, p < .05); calculation: F(1, 45) = 10.90, p < .01). However, there is no influence on their calculating speed (F(1, 45) = .88, p = .35). These findings provide support of the assumption that physical activity has a positive impact on concentration and mathematical skills of school children. Utilizing the ergometer in class also represents an innovative option for active lessons in the sense of an active school. These findings support the importance of physical activity in school.