Purpose: This study examined the effects of coordinative exercise on children’s sustained attention and perceptual discrimination in a school-based physical education (SBPE) setting. Methods: Seventy-three children received an intervention of moderate-to-vigorous intensity coordinative exercise, and 75 children participated in a moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity as part of a regular physical education class. Two neuropsychological tests of executive function (EF) were used to assess attention and perceptual discrimination functions before and after each treatment. Results: The results found that coordinative exercise significantly improved the performances on sustained attention and perceptual discrimination, as evidenced by enhanced response accuracy and improved speed of responding. Specifically, higher progressions in task performance were seen following coordinative exercise relative to regular physical activity. Conclusion: These findings suggest that coordinative exercise could enable more robust improvements in sustained attention and perceptual discrimination among children. Overall, we conclude that structured coordinative exercise, implemented in SBPE settings, may be a promising alternative to promote children’s cognitive abilities.
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