Elementary Students' Physical Activity Levels and Behavior When Using Stability Balls

Heather E. Erwin, Alicia Fedewa, Soyeon Ahn, Michelle Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Physical activity is positively related to improved student behaviors. Stability balls have been used as interventions to affect student behavior. The objective of this study was to determine whether the use of stability balls elicits more physical activity than the use of regular chairs and whether stability balls positively influence behavior.

METHOD: Participants (n = 43 fourth graders) sat on stability balls during class and wore accelerometers. Eight were randomly selected for behavioral observations using momentary time sampling.

RESULTS: Significant decreases in accelerometer counts were found. No obvious difference for on-task behaviors was found between students using stability balls and those using chairs.

CONCLUSION: Stability balls do not necessarily elicit more physical activity than do chairs; however, students accumulate light-intensity physical activity when using them. Classroom behavior was not detrimentally affected by stability ball use; thus, stability balls do not appear to detract from the classroom instructional atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)p1-p7
JournalAmerican Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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