• A research offers new models to optimize the practice of sports and combat a sedentary lifestyle

    July 01, 2013

    The research, in which 3,000 youths have participated, reveals that the self-imposed motivation for physical activity increases fair play and improves moral reasoning

    Students who participate in the Sports Campuses of the University of Oviedo

    How much does the practice of a sport of a physical activity conditions the levels of health and personal development of children and youths? A team of researchers from the University of Oviedo, led by Tenured Professor of Didactics of Corporal Expression José Antonio Cecchini Estrada, is conducting an ambitious research in which 3,000 young people have participated and which offers new models to optimize the practice of physical activities and combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

    Preliminary results show that self-imposed motivation (that which seeks no more reward than feeling well) for practing a sport contributes to increasing fair-play attitudes and behavior, with an important effect on the capacity for moral reasoning of the youths. It also improves their social development and their health.

    The experts of the University of Oviedo have gathered information with the collaboration of more than thirty schools and sports centers and a total sample of more than 3,000 youths. The project, titled Repercusiones de la motivación auto-determinada en los niveles de actividad física presentes y futuros de los jóvenes escolares y deportistas, is still being developed and is funded by the National Plan for Science of the Ministry of Economics and Competitivity.

    The proposed options may impact very positively health levels and personal development. The researchers analyze the influence of the teaching techniques of the learning process and their results on the levels of physical activity, and the importance of motivation in activities such as sportsmanship or aggressiveness in sports.

    Data from the World Health Organization reveals that physical inactivity is already the fourth cause of mortality in the world, only surpassed by hypertension (13%), the consumption of tobacco (9%) and the excess of glucose in blood. It is estimated that physical inactivity is the main cause behind 21% and 25% of breast and colon cancers, 27% of the cases of diabetes, and approximately 30% of ischemic heart diseases.

    The reach of this problem can be seen in the every day more frequent diagnosis in children of diseases that previously only affect adults. Such is the case of Type II diabetes, high blood pressure or low levels of triglycerides or HDL cholestorl. The research estimates that around 5% of the students of Primary Education are affected by a metabolic syndrome, while that percentage reaches 12% to 20% in the cases of overweight children.

    Innovating on the model of Physical Education at school

    The reality of physical inactivity has extended throughout different countries and experts see a progressive increase in the age of the youths in schools who are affected by it. It is a worrying problem that takes a priviledged spot on the research that will be conducted in the next years. The first results of the study conducted by the researchers of the Faculty of Teaching Training and Education bring hopes and may have important consequences in the policies, management and development of sports, physical activity and school Physical Education.

    In order to try to minimize this problem, the group of researchers from the University of Oviedo is determined to analyze the repercussion of the most self-imposed ways of motivation in the current and futures levels of physical activities of young students and athletes. From this analysis, the experts are drawing new innovative models of intervention to optimize the levels of the practice of regular physical activity. Some of the prioritary objectives of the project would be:

    • To validate models and programs of intervention to increase the levels of self-imposed motivation.
    • To analyze the decrease of self-impose determination in young students and athletes.
    • To analyze the instruments for measuring that allow for an analysis of the influence of the teaching strategies and techniques for learning and the results of the levels of physical activity.
    • To analyze the effect of self-imposed determination on diverse activities, such as sportsmanship or the aggressiveness in sports.
    • To analyze the repercussion of the free practice on all the levels of self-imposed motivation.

    The promising results of the research conducted by the team led by Professor Cecchini have had a great repercussion on the different specialized publications with impact.

    Research team:

    José Antonio Cecchini Estrada (director), Antonio Méndez Giménez, Javier Fernández Río y Carmen González González-Mesa.

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