Improving executive function of children with autism spectrum disorder through cycling skill acquisition

Choi Yeung Andy TSE, David I. ANDERSON, Venus H.L. LIU, Sherry S. L. TSUI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Purpose   Executive dysfunction has been widely reported in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While studies have clearly documented the cognitive benefits of physical exercise on cognition in children, similar studies in children with ASD are scarce. The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of cognitively engaging exercise and non-cognitively engaging exercise on executive function in children with ASD.
Methods   Sixty-two children diagnosed with ASD (50 males and 12 females, Mage = 9.89±1.53 yr, Mheight = 1.43 ± 0.15 m, and Mweight = 44.69 ± 11.96kg) were randomly assigned into three groups: learning to ride a bicycle (n = 22), stationary cycling (n = 20) and control (n = 20). Four executive function components (planning, working memory, flexibility and inhibition) were assessed.
Results   Results revealed significant improvements in all executive function components in the learning to ride a bicycle group (ps <.05) but not in the other two groups after controlling for age and IQ.
Conclusion   Our findings highlight the value of cognitive engagement in exercise programs designed to improve cognition in children with ASD. Copyright © 2021 American College of Sports Medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1424
JournalMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Volume53
Issue number7
Early online date14 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Citation

Tse, A. C. Y., Anderson, D. I., Liu, V. H. L., & Tsu, S. S. L. (2021). Improving executive function of children with autism spectrum disorder through cycling skill acquisition. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 53(7), 1417-1424. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002609

Keywords

  • Cognitive function
  • Cognitive engagement
  • Motor learning
  • Physical exercise
  • Children

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