Heather E. Erwin, Alicia Fedewa, Soyeon Ahn, Michelle Thornton; Elementary Students’ Physical Activity Levels and Behavior When Using Stability Balls. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(2):700220010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.017079
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OBJECTIVE. Physical activity is positively related to improved student behaviors. Stability balls have been used as interventions to affect student behavior. The objective of this study was to determine whether the use of stability balls elicits more physical activity than the use of regular chairs and whether stability balls positively influence behavior.
METHOD. Participants (n = 43 fourth graders) sat on stability balls during class and wore accelerometers. Eight were randomly selected for behavioral observations using momentary time sampling.
RESULTS. Significant decreases in accelerometer counts were found. No obvious difference for on-task behaviors was found between students using stability balls and those using chairs.
CONCLUSION. Stability balls do not necessarily elicit more physical activity than do chairs; however, students accumulate light-intensity physical activity when using them. Classroom behavior was not detrimentally affected by stability ball use; thus, stability balls do not appear to detract from the classroom instructional atmosphere.
Because stability balls allow students to accumulate light-intensity physical activity without distracting from the learning environment, classroom teachers should be encouraged to use stability balls in lieu of chairs during instructional time if their goal is adding light physical activity within the school day.
All activity counts toward overall accumulation, and stability balls allow students to gain a low level of physical activity without negatively affecting their behavior.
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