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Benefits of Physical Activity in Developmental Age: Improve Psychological Wellbeing and Reduce Diseases Risk in Life Span

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Exercise and Health-Related Quality of Life".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2025 | Viewed by 7047

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Educational Sciences and Human Movement, University of Palermo, 90133 Palermo, Italy
Interests: relationship between cognitive development and physical activity; moral disengagement in youth athletes; psychological wellbeing in children practicing sports; cognition and physical exercise across life span
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Educational Science and Human Movement, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 15, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: typical development; motivation; motor development; physical activitiy; development coordination disorder; intellectual disabilities; esecutive functioning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Physical activity practised during childhood and adolescence produces positive effects upon physical and psychological development. In particular, physical activity during growth shapes the psychological assets in terms of cognitive functioning, mood regulation, and socio-emotional processes for children presenting either typical or atypical development. In particular, children with atypical development or disabilities may benefit from physical activity to a great extent.

Moreover, the psychological effects of physical activity can be related to benefits obtained after growth, across the life span, and at different life stages.

Therefore, the aim of the current Special Issue is to collect studies highlighting the benefits of physical activity in terms of cognitive, mood, and socio-emotional improvements either in the short or long term. 

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Strengthening cognitive functioning through physical activity during growth;
  • The effect of physical activity in youth upon mood regulation;
  • Socio-emotional processes in children involved in physical activity;
  • Psychological benefits of physical activity for children with disability;
  • Long-term psychological benefits of physical activity practised in youth;
  • Gender differences in the effects of physical activity concerning cognitive, emotional, and/or social development;
  • Social cognitive mechanisms involved in children’s sport behaviour (e.g., moral development, moral disengagement).

Dr. Ambra Gentile
Prof. Dr. Marianna Alesi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • long-term benefits
  • life span
  • mood regulation
  • executive functioning
  • psychological wellbeing
  • developmental age

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 394 KiB  
Article
Acute Effects of Exergaming on Students’ Executive Functions and Situational Interest in Elementary Physical Education
by Athanasios Kolovelonis, Marina Papastergiou, Evdoxia Samara and Marios Goudas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 1902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031902 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2568
Abstract
Two studies were conducted to examine the acute effects of exergaming on students’ executive functions and to explore their situational interest regarding these games in elementary physical education. The first study involved a two-group, repeated measures, cross-over quasi-experimental design. Participants were 74 (36 [...] Read more.
Two studies were conducted to examine the acute effects of exergaming on students’ executive functions and to explore their situational interest regarding these games in elementary physical education. The first study involved a two-group, repeated measures, cross-over quasi-experimental design. Participants were 74 (36 boys) fourth- and fifth-grade students who were assigned to the experimental (38 students) and the waiting list control (36 students) group. The single physical education session with exergames was first implemented with the initial experimental group and after the post-test, the waiting list control group received the intervention. In the second study, a pre-test post-test, within-subjects design was involved with the experimental group students (48 fourth- and fifth-grade students, 27 boys) who participated in a booster single physical education session with exergames two months after their involvement in a four-week intervention with cognitively challenging physical activity games. Both studies involved pre- and post-intervention measures for executive functions using the design fluency test and a post-test measure for situational interest. During the acute session, students had to follow the movements of an on-screen dancing character in time to a chosen song of the Just Dance 2015 exergame. The results of the first study showed that experimental group students improved significantly from pre- to post-test their scores in design fluency and in cognitive flexibility and in the total score of the design fluency test and their improvements were higher compared to the waiting list control group. The waiting list control group students, after receiving the acute session with exergames, significantly improved their scores in design fluency, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility and in the total score of the design fluency test compared to their pre-intervention scores. Moreover, the second study showed that students’ total score in the design fluency test improved significantly from pre- to post-intervention. In both studies, students reported generally high scores in all subscales of the situational interest questionnaire. These results suggested that an acute exergame-based physical education session attracted students’ interest and positively triggered their executive functions. Full article
11 pages, 342 KiB  
Article
Walking and Sitting Outdoors: Which Is Better for Cognitive Performance and Mental States?
by Andrew W. Bailey and Hyoung-Kil Kang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16638; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416638 - 11 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2020
Abstract
Myriad research indicates that physical activity and natural environments enhance cognitive performance and mental health. Much of this research is cross-sectional or involves physical activity in outdoor environments, rendering it difficult to ascribe the results to a particular condition. This study utilized electroencephalography [...] Read more.
Myriad research indicates that physical activity and natural environments enhance cognitive performance and mental health. Much of this research is cross-sectional or involves physical activity in outdoor environments, rendering it difficult to ascribe the results to a particular condition. This study utilized electroencephalography (EEG) and established cognitive performance tasks to determine the impact of a short intervention including either walking or sitting in an outdoor environment. In this experiment, a total of 50 participants were randomized into walking and sitting groups, with cognitive performance measured before, after, and 10 min post intervention. Both groups demonstrated improvements in cognitive performance, with no significant difference between groups. Elevated levels of relaxation during the intervention were the best predictor of post-test performance. Participants reporting a higher connection to nature, as well as state-based mindfulness during the outdoor intervention, also reported lower levels of frontal theta (i.e., rumination) during the interaction, while the walking group demonstrated higher relaxation. These findings provide a direct connection to neural mechanisms influenced by physical activity and the natural environment, and their impact on cognitive performance. This supports Attention Restoration Theory and the effectiveness of short outdoor interventions incorporating physical activity as a method of restoring mental attention. Full article

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12 pages, 591 KiB  
Protocol
Empowerment-Based Physical Activity Intervention for People with Advanced Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Mixed-Methods Protocol
by Eva-Carin Lindgren, Jeanette Källstrand, Åsa Alftberg, Pia Johansson, Lars Kristén, Linn Håman, Andreas Ivarsson and Ing-Marie Carlsson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010643 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1781
Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of incurable visual impairment and impacts daily life. These impacts include loss of social activities, decreased functional independence, and reduced physical activity. This protocol aims to describe a prospective, mixed-methodology for studying a population [...] Read more.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of incurable visual impairment and impacts daily life. These impacts include loss of social activities, decreased functional independence, and reduced physical activity. This protocol aims to describe a prospective, mixed-methodology for studying a population with AMD before, during, and after an empowerment-based physical activity intervention (EPI). A study framework was also developed for EPI. The intervention will include 20 older individuals (age 65+ years) with AMD recruited in Sweden. The intervention period is six months and comprises adapted physical activity and social activities in a group twice a week and individual health coaching on three occasions. The quantitative pre-test and three follow-ups include physical functional tests, an accelerometer that monitors physical activity continuously for one week, and questionnaires. Individual and focus-group interviews and ethnographic observations will explore the experience of living with AMD and what it means to participate in the EPI for individuals with AMD. The chosen methodology offers a structured way for researchers to explore the experiences and factors that may provide insights into the potential of creative supervised, adapted physical activity in groups, health coaching, and socialising that are significant to enable well-being among older individuals with AMD. Full article
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