The Walking Classroom: Measuring the Impact of Physical Activity on Student Cognitive Performance and Mood

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: The Walking Classroom is an education program that provides students with an opportunity to accumulate physical activity without losing instructional time. Method: This research tests Kuczala’s application of kinesthetic learning theory through measuring knowledge retention, postactivity information processing, and mood in students who engage in a short bout of physical activity while listening to Walking Classroom podcasts about language arts, science, and history, and those who remain seated during a podcast, compared with baseline levels. Students from 9 high-poverty fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms (n = 319) in a North Carolina county comprised the sample. Results: Utilizing multivariate analysis of covariance, the results demonstrate significantly higher levels of learning while walking compared with learning while sitting. Measures of mood utilizing the 10-item version of the Positive and Negative Affect Scale also demonstrated a significant effect in predicted directions. Conclusion: The results support that coupling physical activity with instruction leads to increased performance and mood for elementary school students.

Weight is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. Harry is with the School of Education and Human Development and the Department of Higher Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA. Erwin is with the College of Education and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.

Harry (mh4yf@virginia.edu) is corresponding author.
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