Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Brian K. Martens


fluency training, gross-motor, health, physical activity, preschool

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the most important factors related to good health. Encouraging and promoting physical activity in young children aids in preventing overweight and obesity, promoting health, preventing disease, and supporting bone and overall growth development. However, physical activity levels in young children are low, and efficient and effective interventions to increase physical activity in young children are unclear. One creative method to increase physical activity in young children is gross-motor fluency training. A multielement single-case experimental design was employed to assess the effects of fluency training in six gross-motor skills on children’s levels of physical activity during free play sessions. Four typically developing preschool-aged children participated. Overall, results indicated that training skills relevant to two contexts (i.e., outdoor toys and open space) increased levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) for all four participants. Supplementary analyses suggested that fluency training increased three participant’s preferences for training play contexts, the effects of non-social reinforcement on MVPA increased for two participants following fluency training, and overall gross-motor competency increased for all four participants. Fluency-based instruction likely increased the proficiency, and decreased the response effort required for skill performance; enabled the participant’s to combine gross-motor component skills into composite chains; and facilitated generalization of gross-motor skills training to play. Fluency-based gross-motor instruction with young children represents a promising strategy to improve overall fitness levels, thereby increasing health and well-being and establishing a foundation for an active lifestyle.

Keywords: physical activity, preschool, health, fluency training, gross-motor


Open Access