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Physical activity and motor skills in children: a differentiated approach

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-27, 11:09 authored by Laura C Dapp, Venera GashajVenera Gashaj, Claudia M Roebers

Being physically active plays an essential role in a child's physical development. While there is ample evidence for a positive association between physical activity (PA) and motor skills in children, the question of how PA should be implemented to optimally foster motor skill proficiency is less clear. To address this gap, the current longitudinal study compared four groups of children with different patterns of leisure-time PA engagement—namely children engaging in either structured PA, unstructured PA, a combination of structured and unstructured PA, or no PA at all—with respect to their gross and fine motor skill development. Results of repeated measures mixed modeling procedures revealed that engaging in structured PA—either exclusively or in combination with unstructured PA—is beneficial for children's gross motor development, whereas engaging in unstructured PA lacks such effectiveness. As to fine motor skills, a beneficial tendency of structured PA was observed as well. Hence, PA seems to be beneficial for motor skill development particularly when implemented in a formal setting with guided opportunities for practice. In conclusion, regularly engaging in structured PA constitutes a promising way to promote motor skills and support motor development over the long term.

Funding

Jacobs Foundation Zürich

Center for Cognition, Learning, and Memory at the University of Bern

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Psychology of Sport and Exercise

Volume

54

Publisher

Elsevier BV

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author(s)

Publisher statement

This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Acceptance date

2021-02-12

Publication date

2021-02-22

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

1469-0292

eISSN

1878-5476

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Venera Gashaj. Deposit date: 25 March 2024

Article number

101916