Compensation for Adolescents’ School Mental Load by Physical Activity on Weekend Days


Introduction and objective:
Increasing mental load and inadequate stress management significantly affect the efficiency, success and safety of the educational/working process in adolescents. The objective of this study is to determine the extent that adolescents compensate for their school mental load by physical activity (PA) on weekend days and, thus, to contribute to the objective measurement of mental load in natural working conditions.

A cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2013 and April 2014. A set of different methods was employed—self-administered questionnaire (IPAQ-long questionnaire), objective measurements—pedometers, and accelerometers (ActiTrainers). They was distributed to 548 students from 17 high schools. Participants’ mental load was assessed based on the difference between PA intensity and/or physical inactivity and heart rate range.

The participants with the highest mental load during school lessons do not compensate for this load by PA on weekend days.

Adolescents need to be encouraged to be aware of their subjective mental load and to intentionally compensate for this load by PA on weekend days. It is necessary to support the process of adopting habits by sufficient physical literacy of students, as well as teachers, and by changes in the school program.