Physical Activity and Self-Regulation in Children with Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Disabilities

This translational study was conducted in partnership with the Manville School, a therapeutic day school at the Judge Baker Children’s Center, between 2013-2015. The study explored the effect of an interactive cybercycling curriculum (known as Manville Moves) on classroom behavior and self-regulation among school-age children with social and emotional disabilities. The Manville Moves curriculum was designed to gradually increase children’s moderate to intense aerobic exercise up to 20 minutes per session. The publications below describe the intervention protocol and its development, its implementation and the main results.

Key findings were that:

  • Nearly 90% of Manville Moves sessions were implemented as planned, with all eligible children exposed to the program.
  • Students enjoyed the curriculum, in particular the gaming mode on the bicycles and the receipt of awards for mileage milestones
  • School staff reported low levels of burden associated with implementing the curriculum
  • Students demonstrated a 46% reduction in disciplinary time out of class and 32% reduction in emotional lability and impulsiveness during the academic semester they completed Manville Moves compared with a usual semester
  • Compared with days when they didn’t ride the bicycles, on days when students rode by bicycles they demonstrated 90% less disruptive time out of class and 71% less impulsiveness behavior

Published papers from the study

  1. Davison KK, Bowling A, Garcia J, Wood B, Hermesch R, Prince J, Hayes A, Kow R, Newlan S & Slavet J (2016).  A cybercycling intervention to improve behavioral regulation and classroom functioning among children with behavioral health disorders:  Pragmatic randomized trial design for Manville MovesContemporary Clinical Trials, 49, 40-46.
  2. Bowling A, Slavet J, Miller D, Hanuese S, Beardsley W, & Davison KK. (2017). Cybercyling effects on classroom behavior in children with behavioral health disorders: An RCT. Pediatrics. 139(2): e20161985.
  3. Bowling A, Slavet J, Garcia J, Wood B, Miller D, Hermesch R, Kow R, Newlan S & Davison KK. (2016). Implementation fidelity of a cybercyling curriculum among children with behavioral health disorders. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. 1(9), 82-89.
  4. Bowling A, Slavet J, Miller D, Hanuese S, Beardsley W, & Davison KK. (2017). Dose response effects of exercise on behavioral health in children and adolscents. Mental Health and Physical Activity. 12, 110-115.


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