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Proceeding Paper

Correlation between Different Types and Intensities of Physical Activity and Children’s Sports Performance †

School of Sports and Health Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China
Kindergarten Department, Jinhua Vocational and Technical College, Jinhua 321016, China
Public Physical Education Department, Zhejiang Guangsha Vocational and Technical University of Construction, Jinhua 322100, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 2nd International Electronic Conference on Healthcare, 17 February–3 March 2022; Available online:
These authors contributed equally as co authors of the first report.
Med. Sci. Forum 2022, 10(1), 13;
Published: 24 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The 2nd International Electronic Conference on Healthcare)


This study used the literature method to systematically review correlation studies on the sports performance of school-aged children aged 7–12 years. Twenty related studies were summarized and sorted out. The results showed that most of the studies used the motion sensor method to measure the intensity of physical activity, and few used the observation and survey methods. Most studies measured sports performance on the basis of changes in various physical fitness indicators to reflect differences in sports performance. Moderate- and high-intensity comprehensive sports were beneficial in improving the sports performance of school-aged children. At present, differences in the positive effects of various physical activities on children’s sports performance need to be further compared. The research results can provide theoretical scientific guidance for the selection of children’s physical activities and sports methods and the development of comprehensive courses such as school sports activities, as well as help children’s sports performance improvement and effective development of physical and mental health.

1. Introduction

Physical activity refers to any bodily movement with energy expenditure caused by skeletal muscle contraction and consists of four basic elements: frequency, intensity, duration, and type [1]. It has an important impact on health and exercise capacity and is one of the important signs of an active and healthy lifestyle [2]. “Sports performance” refers to the collective display of various physical qualities, including speed, strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, and coordination, when people participate in a certain sport or perform a certain physical activity [3]. Children are the future of the country and the hope of the nation. Sports performance in childhood can intuitively reflect their athletic talent, which is very important for the development of their physical fitness and athletic ability in the future. Improving children’s sports performance is a fundamental part of promoting the construction of a sports powerhouse and provides an important guarantee for the national reserve of sports talents. In recent years, many studies have confirmed that appropriate physical activity in childhood helps to improve sports performance. Sex research is not perfect. On this basis, the present study adopted the literature data method to systematically summarize and organize the types, intensity, and influencing factors of physical activity and sports performance in school-aged children and their measurement methods. Moreover, the correlation between physical activity and sports performance was analyzed. The results of this study can be used to provide a basis for further research in related fields.

2. Review of Correlation Studies on Physical Activity

2.1. Types of Activity

Various types of human physical activity exist. This study summarized different studies related to physical activity and classified the types of physical activity in three different ways (see Table 1): (1) people’s daily lifestyle and behavior habits, (2) characteristics of energy metabolism during activities, and (3) form of activities.

2.2. Exercise Intensity

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the World Health Organization, physical activity is divided into three levels (low, medium, and high) on the basis of different classification standards (see Table 2). The classification standards include (1) metabolic equivalent (kilocalories or METs consumed per minute), (2) daily physical activity level (PAL [1]; PAL = total energy expenditure in 24 h/basal metabolic energy expenditure in 24 h), and (3) “subjective exercise intensity scale” (RPE).

2.3. Measurement Method

By reviewing a large number of studies, the current physical activity measurement methods can be roughly summarized into calorie consumption measurement, heart rate monitoring, motion sensor, observation, and survey methods (see Table 3).

3. Review of Correlation Studies on Athletic Performance

In recent years, more and more correlation studies on the important influence of childhood sports performance on exercise ability and physical fitness in adulthood have been being conducted. The sports performance level of school-aged children needs to be observed from multiple perspectives. As children grow older, their physical fitness performance will continue to improve. In general, boys outperform girls in teenage years, and trends in strength are consistent with body weight and muscle mass, with peak gains following PHV [4]. Thus, early in the juvenile growth spurt, boys have longer legs in relation to height, which may affect running speed and lower torso flexibility. The static strength and explosive power of girls’ arms also increase sharply after peak growth.
Factors that affect children’s sports performance include physical fitness levels, growth and development status, interest in learning sports, and family genetic factors, but more and more studies have shown that children’s coordination ability is key to determining their sports performance [5]. The most indispensable thing for people to exercise after mastering the movement is the coordination ability [6], and after mastering the new movement and then coordinating and comprehensively making the movement, the performance level is displayed.
After reviewing a large number of literature sources, we found that the current reports on the measurement methods of sports performance are insufficient. Some studies objectively reflected the sports performance level by assessing children’s basic motor skills (FMS). FMS consist of motor skills (e.g., walking, jumping), balance/stabilization skills (e.g., balancing, turning), and object control skills (e.g., throwing, catching) [7]. Some studies also measured various physical qualities of children, quantified sports performance, and then intuitively reflected changes in sports performance levels.

4. Review of Empirical Research on Physical Activity and Sports Performance

Appropriate physical activity at school age has been found to contribute to the improvement of athletic performance. However, the effects of different types and intensities of physical activity on children’s athletic performance are not well-established. Guo et al. [7] studied the relationship between basic motor skills, physical activity, and body perception ability of children aged 8–9 years and found that basic motor skills can significantly predict physical activity and body perception ability [8]. Wu et al. [9] introduced guidelines and suggestions on the combination of different exercise loads for adolescents and children. The research results suggest that physical education classes should promote students’ moderate-intensity accumulation time to reach more than 50% of the total physical education class time; physical activities should be set up with special physical fitness exercise time and promote comprehensive development of the students’ sports health and sports performance [10]. Hou [11] found that motor coordination ability is positively correlated with physical activity, and moderate- and high-intensity physical activity can promote motor coordination ability. There is a positive correlation between sports coordination ability and interest in learning sports, and the degree of sports participation, active interest in learning sports, and degree of autonomous learning can promote sports coordination ability [11].
Peng [8] summarized the literature related to human sports performance and found that the INT plan may be more in line with the structural characteristics of the actual training content of sports training, avoid single development, and can comprehensively develop the different sports qualities required by athletes. Integral neuromuscular training enhances health- and skill-related fitness in children during physical education [12]. Hohmann et al. [13] found that effective intervention through sports games can improve the motor ability of children with autism. Wu et al. [9] studied open and closed skills and found that the open skills movement group showed higher inhibitory control and motor performance (reaction time, speed, agility, and strength) compared with the closed skills movement group. Teachers’ perceptions of children’s motor learning ability can predict their basic motor skills [14]. Li and Gao [15] found an association between children’s motor learning ability and the level of basic motor skills and their changes. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in children with lower levels of motor learning, with lower proficiency and lower progress on lateral tests.

5. Conclusions

  • Regular or open-ended, comprehensive, and interesting sports for school-aged children are more conducive to the improvement of sports performance and ability.
  • Moderate- and high-intensity physical activity during leisure time can promote motor coordination ability, which can further improve children’s sports performance.
  • In the selection of physical education courses and afterschool activities for school-aged children, sports games can be used to drive students’ interest in learning sports, develop their physical qualities, and continuously improve their sports performance. Each activity should last at least 30–60 min.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, methodology, and writing—original draft preparation, Y.P. and M.T.; writing—review, editing, and revision, X.L.; data collection, Y.H. and X.X.; data analysis, Y.R. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

The data are available upon reasonable request.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Table 1. Types of physical activity.
Table 1. Types of physical activity.
Classification CriteriaTypeActivities
People’s daily lifestyle and behavior habitsOccupationPhysical activity (labor) involved in an 8-hour working day
TrafficPhysical activity involved in everyday modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, riding, and driving
LeisureRecreational activities other than basic activities such as physical exercise, dancing, playing with children, going up and down the stairs, and walking; physical activities that involve little body movement in leisure time, such as watching TV, playing computer, chatting, and playing cards
HouseworkHousework such as grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, moving/lifting light objects, mopping the floor, cleaning glass, and weaving
Characteristics of energy metabolism during activityAerobic metabolismMainly includes physical activities such as agricultural production labor, housework, long-distance running, walking, cycling, and swimming
Anaerobic metabolismPhysical activity that causes short, powerful muscle contractions (e.g., carrying heavy objects, running fast, throwing, long jumping)
Form of activitiesSingle classExtension, flexion, and rotation activities of the body or limbs (e.g., squatting, bending, turning)
ImpedanceRepetitive movements that work against resistance through muscles (e.g., weightlifting, bouncing machine exercises, push-ups, pull-ups)
Combination classCombination activities to improve the balance and coordination of the human body (e.g., gymnastics, boxing, dance)
Note: The data in the table were compiled by the authors after collecting relevant information.
Table 2. Classification of physical activity levels.
Table 2. Classification of physical activity levels.
Classification CriteriaGradeMET Value/PAL Value/RPE RangeActivity Example/Speaking Test
Metabolic equivalentLow<3.0General activities of daily living such as shopping, cooking, and laundry
Middle3.0–6.0Activities such as dancing, riding, mowing, yoga, golf, walking, tai chi, table tennis, doubles tennis, biking (<10 mph), and carrying heavy objects (<20 kg)
High>6.0Activities such as walking, skipping, running, fast cycling, football, heavy physical labor (e.g., logging, construction), basketball, tennis, swimming, backpacking, and carrying heavy objects (>20 kg)
Daily physical activity levelLow1.40–1.69Office work, repairing electrical clocks, sales clerks, hotel waiters, chemical experiment operation, and giving lectures
Middle1.70–1.99Students’ daily activities, motor vehicle driving, electrical installation, lathe operation, and metal cutting
High2.00–2.40Nonmechanized agricultural labor, steelmaking, dancing, sports, loading and unloading, and mining
Subjective exercise intensity scaleLow<12Can talk/sing
Middle12–14Can talk but not sing
High≥15Difficulty speaking
Note: The data in the table were compiled by the authors after collecting relevant information.
Table 3. Physical activity measurement methods.
Table 3. Physical activity measurement methods.
Measurement MethodsAdvantages and Disadvantages
Calorie consumption measurementDirect methodThis method has high accuracy, but it is technical. Moreover, the equipment and the test cost are high. The method can only be performed in a laboratory, which is suitable for subject research.
Indirect methodThis method has high accuracy. However, the equipment is expensive, and the method requires a breathing mask, which causes mild discomfort to test subjects. This method is often used to determine the validity of other measurements of physical activity or small-sample studies.
Double standard water methodThe sample collection and measurement process is simple and safe and does not cause toxic side effects. It has a wide range of applications, but the cost is high. The method can only test TEE for a period of time and cannot accurately reflect the ratio of AEE, DEE, and BMR. It is often used to assess the validity of other measurements of physical activity.
Heart rate monitoringIt is simple and easy to operate. However, it is unstable, with large individual differences, and is easily affected by many factors such as body composition, training level, smoking, caffeine, and nervousness. It is suitable for epidemiological investigations with large samples.
Motion sensor methodPedometerIt has a small size and is cheap and easy to wear. It does not affect the activities of the survey object and has accurate measurement results. However, it does not provide information on activity intensity, duration, and activity, making it difficult to sense movements that do not involve significant body movement, isometric muscle contractions, or upper extremity activity. It is suitable for small population studies.
AccelerometerIt is small, light, and easy to use and can provide information on physical activity intensity and activity patterns. It can store data for days, weeks, or even months. It can explain changes in TEE well, but it cannot easily detect TEE. It cannot be used to measure energy expenditure in physical activities that do not involve significant body movement, such as cycling and upper extremity exercise. It also cannot be used in swimming and diving.
ObservationVarious parameters of physical activity of the observed subject and the surrounding environment during the activity can be completely recorded, and the obtained data are objective and reliable. However, this method requires a well-trained observer, and the cost is high. This method is suitable for small-sample surveys, especially of preschool children with poor recall of details.
SurveyThis method is inexpensive; simple to operate; and provides information such as activity type, frequency, time, and intensity. However, the results are greatly influenced by subjective factors and are prone to bias, especially for people with limited cognitive, recall, and comprehension ability. This method is suitable for large-scale epidemiological investigations.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pan, Y.; Hong, Y.; Xu, X.; Ren, Y.; Luo, X.; Tao, M. Correlation between Different Types and Intensities of Physical Activity and Children’s Sports Performance. Med. Sci. Forum 2022, 10, 13.

AMA Style

Pan Y, Hong Y, Xu X, Ren Y, Luo X, Tao M. Correlation between Different Types and Intensities of Physical Activity and Children’s Sports Performance. Medical Sciences Forum. 2022; 10(1):13.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pan, Yu, Ye Hong, Xingjian Xu, Yuandong Ren, Xiao Luo, and Meng Tao. 2022. "Correlation between Different Types and Intensities of Physical Activity and Children’s Sports Performance" Medical Sciences Forum 10, no. 1: 13.

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