PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new scientific study says adding something called “cyber-cycling” to a child’s school routine has significant benefits for kids with complex behavior problems.
14-year-old Jerry Andrews and 13-year-old Rahlo Reay attends a therapeutic day school for Children with behavioral and emotional disabilities.
“He has a high functioning form of autism and sometimes that can come with behaviors that he has a hard time controlling,” explained Pam Reay, Rahlo’s mother.
Both boys participated in a study that found aerobic exercise on virtual reality stationary bikes improved how children with behavior disorders act in class. “There was about a 70 percent drop in disruptive behaviors in the classroom,” said Dr. Kirsten Davison of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The stationary bikes are hooked up to computers so students can play video games, keeping kids like 8-year-old Allara Rodriguez engaged. “I’ve biked two miles on this. I’ve done like 50 minutes for a long time.”
Jerry’s mother says the benefits of cyber-cycling last even after the school day ends. “I would see a difference in the days that he had gym because he seemed to be more settled,” Marilyn Andrews said.
Researchers say only 10-15 minutes of exercise are needed to see results. They also say they saw the biggest results on the days the students were on the bikes, but they also saw overall improvement during the entire course of the study.