Research: CONLEY and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 215

Abstract

CONLEY and COLLEAGUES, Deakin University, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Australia explored whether children can identify time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity; and  investigated whether heart rate biofeedback would improve children's ability to estimate time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Background

Physical activity recommendations for children in several countries advise that all young people should accumulate at least 60 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Perceiving physical activity intensity, however, can be a difficult task for children and it is not clear whether children can identify their levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity in accordance with the recommended guidelines.

Methodology

This study aimed to (1) explore whether children can identify time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity; and (2) investigate whether heart rate biofeedback would improve children's ability to estimate time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Thirty seven children (15 boys and 22 girls, mean age 12.6 years) wore data recording Polar E600 heart rate monitors during eight physical education lessons. At the end of each lesson children's estimated time in zone was compared to their actual time in zone. During a six lesson Intervention phase, one class was assigned to a biofeedback group whilst the other class acted as the control group and received no heart rate biofeedback.

Results

Post-Intervention, students in the biofeedback group were no better than the control group at estimating time spent in zone (mean relative error of estimation biofeedback group: Pre-Intervention 41+/-32% to Post-Intervention 28+/-26%; control group: Pre-Intervention 40+/-39% to Post-Intervention 31+/-37%).

Conclusion

Thus it seems that identifying time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity remains a complex task for children aged 11-13 even with the help of heart rate biofeedback.

References

Conley MM, Gastin PB, Brown H and Shaw C. Heart rate biofeedback fails to enhance children's ability to identify time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Source Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport. 14(2):153-8. Mar 2011.

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