Pedaling Away Behavioral Problems in School — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 9, 2017

Pedaling Away Behavioral Problems in School

By John D. Cowden, MD, MPH

Dr. Cowden is an associate editor with NEJM Journal Watch Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, from which this story was adapted. Full coverage is available to subscribers at the link below.

Pedaling on a "cybercycle" during physical education class improved classroom behavior throughout the day in a school for children with behavioral health disorders, such as autism and ADHD. The findings appear in Pediatrics.

Some 100 children aged 7–16 were randomly assigned by classroom to participate in a 7-week intervention during either the fall or spring. The intervention featured cybercycles ("virtual-reality exergaming stationary bicycles") used twice weekly in an aerobically challenging program during physical education class. Behavioral outcomes were compared between the intervention period and a 7-week control period of conventional physical education.

During the intervention period, children showed improved self-regulation (scored by teachers) and classroom functioning (time out of classroom due to unacceptable behavior). On days when children participated in cybercycling, improvements in outcomes were even greater.

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