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Children involved in team sports show superior executive function compared to their peers involved in self-paced sports

De Waelle, S, Laureys, F, Lenoir, M, Bennett, SJ and Deconinck, F Children involved in team sports show superior executive function compared to their peers involved in self-paced sports. Children. ISSN 2227-9067 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Children’s motor and cognitive functions develop rapidly during childhood. Physical activity and executive function are intricately linked during this important developmental period, with physical activity interventions consistently proving to benefit children’s executive function. However, it is less clear which type of physical activity shows the strongest associations with executive function in children. Therefore, this study compared executive function performance of children aged 8 to 12 that either participated in team sports or self-paced sports, or were not involved in any kind of organized sports (non-athletes). Results demonstrate that children participating in team sports show superior executive function compared to children participating in self-paced sports and non-athletes. Importantly, children participating in self-paced sports do not outperform non-athletes when it comes to executive function. This study is the first to show that even at a very young age, team sports athletes outperform athletes from self-paced sports as well as non-athletes on a multifaceted and comprehensive test battery for executive function. Furthermore, our findings support the hypothesis that cognitively engaging physical activity, such as participation in team sports, might show stronger associations with executive functioning compared to other types of sports and physical activity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: MDPI
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2021 09:52
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 05:41
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14711

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