The effects of a moderate-to-high intensity interval exercise training programme on selective and sustained attention in schoolchildren aged 11 and 12


  • Jaume Gelabert Balearic Islands University
  • Ricardo de la Vega Autonomous University of Madrid
  • Pere Palou-Sampol Balearic Islands University
  • Adrià Muntaner-Mas Balearic Islands University & University of Granada



Cognition, Youth, Physical exercise, Physical activity, Physical education, Children, Exercise


Physical activity has been shown to have positive benefits on many brain function indices. Nonetheless, evidence is scant regarding attention. This study therefore aimed to analyse the chronic effects of an interval physical exercise programme at moderate-to-high intensity on selective and sustained attention indicators amongst schoolchildren aged 11 and 12 years old. They were part of a total sample of 56 schoolchildren split evenly between the experimental and control groups. The programme ran for seven weeks with 30-minute sessions three times per week. Interval games were performed with motor, cognitive and coordination challenges at 70-80% of maximum heart rate. Selective attention was recorded via a cancellation task (d2-Test) and sustained attention via a computer vigilance task (CSAT-II). The results showed no significant changes in any selective or sustained attention indicator. In short, the implemented programme did not show it generated chronic effects on selective or sustained attention. Future research is required to provide more evidence on physical activity programmes in schools that explore changes in selective and sustained attention.


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Author Biographies

Jaume Gelabert, Balearic Islands University

Research Group in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (GICAFE), Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Education.

Ricardo de la Vega, Autonomous University of Madrid

Teaching and Evaluation of Physical Activity and Sport, Department of Physical Education, Sport, and Human Motricity.

Pere Palou-Sampol, Balearic Islands University

Research Group in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (GICAFE), Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Education.

Adrià Muntaner-Mas, Balearic Islands University & University of Granada

Research Group in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (GICAFE), Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Education & Research Group PROFITH "PROmoting FITness and Health through Physical Activity", Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Sports Sciences.


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How to Cite

Gelabert, J., de la Vega, R., Palou-Sampol, P., & Muntaner-Mas, A. (2023). The effects of a moderate-to-high intensity interval exercise training programme on selective and sustained attention in schoolchildren aged 11 and 12. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 18(1), 209–223.



Physical Education / Children & Exercise