New study shows links between academic performance and exercise

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A Dutch review of past studies suggests children’s academic performance could be linked to how physically active they are. Writing in ‘Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine’, researchers reported finding strong evidence of a link between exercise and academic performance.

The review looked at 14 studies involving more than 12,000 children. It concluded from them that exercise may help improve studies by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. But the authors of the study, from VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, said more accurate and reliable measurement instruments were needed to examine the link in greater detail.

Dr Amika Singh and colleagues were prompted to look at the relationship between physical activity and academic performance because of concerns that pressure to improve children’s school marks could mean they spend more time in the classroom and less time doing physical activity. So the authors identified 10 observational and four interventional studies for review. Twelve of the studies were conducted in the United States, one in Canada and one in South Africa. Sample sizes ranged from 53 to about 12,000 participants between the ages of six and 18 years. Continue reading >>

2 responses to “New study shows links between academic performance and exercise

  1. Private schools include much more physical activity in their timetable than do state schools. I have long felt that the government, instead of making state school teachers fill in form after form and generally dictate what happens in schools, should look at what the private sector is doing differently and copy that. Physical activity being one of the things that separates the 2 schooling systems.
    Of course, physical activity helps adult brains to work better too – by the same mechanisms of increased blood flow and mood improvement – and also increased ATP production. However, it does not have to be a whole hour of activity. Short and sharp works very well – 10 press ups etc – will do the trick nicely. Longer isn’t necessarily better and short sessions involving less sweat are more appealing to the average office worker.

  2. We should make much more of a big deal of exercise and physical activity within our schools, not only to improve educational performance but also in terms of creating positive behavior patterns that will serve our children well in the future!


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