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Comparison of Three Modes of Exercise in Reducing Stress and Improving Self-Esteem among Underserved Children at Title I Elementary Schools

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to: 1) examine if Health Qigong is effective in improving children's psychological well-being, and 2) compare the relative effectiveness of Health Qigong with two traditional Western exercises (i.e., aerobic exercise and physical education activities) on children's mental health. Methods: Using a pre and post-test quasi-experimental design, we compare the effects of three different modes of exercise (i.e., aerobic exercise, mind-body exercise, and regular physical education) on reducing stress (n=101) and improving self-esteem (n=68) in children over a 16-week period. Results: Our study revealed a significant improvement in reducing stress (p=0.006) and improving self-esteem (p<0.001) using the repeated measures analysis of variance. No significant difference was detected among the three exercise groups. Conclusion: It appears that the three different modes of exercise have a similar effect on improving psychological well-being for children. Health Qigong may be considered as an alternative mind-body exercise for children who may not enjoy competitive sports and do not fit in well with conventional exercise activities.


Claudia Wang, Hongtao Li and Brittanie Lockard

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