ESA - Enriched Sport Activities Program

An Erasmus+ Projekt to examine the effects of cognitive enriched physical activities on students’ motor and cognitive performance.

Ein von Erasmus+ gefördertes Projekt zur Analyse der Effekte von kognitiv angereicherten Bewegungsaktivitäten auf die motorische und kognitive Leistungsfähigkeit von Schülerinnen und Schülern.

A growing body of studies has identified sport and physical activities as key factors to contribute to well-being and health in children and adolescents. It is becoming increasingly clear that a sedentary lifestyle as well as physical inactivity show a risk for enlarged rates of psychosocial impairments and the onset of medical diseases all resulting in high economic health costs. Consequently, sport intervention programs are increasingly employed to promote physical activity levels and thus, to enhance quality of life and health of participants. At the same time, the promotion of cognitive skills is the primary aim in the school setting and this should not suffer from intensified programs that aim to promote physical health.

The Enriched Sport Activities (ESA) Program aims at enhancing motivation towards physical activity and thus, increasing physical activity and fitness levels that will consequently lead to higher psycho-physical well-being in children with typical development and special needs. This aim will be pursued through sport and physical activity participation in combination with cognitive tasks oriented to improve working memory, planning and inhibition processes. The age ranging from six to fourteen years was chosen because children’s physical activity levels are acknowledged to decrease over this stage, but also because this is a critical phase to address precautionary intervention programs aimed at stimulating an active lifestyle able to prevent inactivity.

ESA is a joint project of cooperating universities of seven countries (Italy, Lithuania, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, Portugal and Germany). It will undergo a three-year phase of development and the establishment of a European network among families, practitioners and schools. This network approach has been chosen because old-style physical activity promotion interventions using individual approaches have revealed to be limited in long-term maintenance of benefits obtained.