Can exercise prevent student behavior problems? A new study suggests that children with behavioral disorders might have a better school experience if exercise is part of their day.
The focus of the study was the effect of structured exercise during the school day on children and teens who had conditions such as autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety and depression. Exercise was provided via stationary “cybercycles.”
The results showed over a seven week period that children were one third to 50 percent less likely to behave inappropriately in class, when compared to a seven week period when they took regular gym classes.
“On days that the students biked, they were less likely to be taken out of the classroom for unacceptable behavior,” said lead researcher April Bowling, who is now an assistant professor of health sciences at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
“That’s important for their learning, and for their relationships with their teachers and other kids in class,” she said.