Exercise Boosts School Performance

New research evidence has confirmed what many educationalist, teacher, parents and physicians have observed for a long time. That physical exercise has an impact not only on health and well-being of children but can clearly improve on a child’s performance in school.  The research which has been produced by a team from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam which consisted of 14 new studies.

Exercise and Children’s Brainpower:

These studies recorded information on the level of physical activity undertaken by young children involved in the research study.  Information was taken from the child and others closely associated with the child such as parents and teachers. The study concentrated and  recorded the level of physical activity that the child undertook and this was correlated to their academic test results on math, language, general thinking and memory tests. The study continued for several months or years following the child’s academic progress.

Fat Kids Need Exercise

In a second set of studies two separate groups of students were identified .  The first was a control group and these students were allocated extra time to take part in physical exercise the second group continued as normal without any change in the time they spent on physical activity. When both groups were tested the academic test results for the control group were higher than that of the second group.

It would appear that the type of exercise is not as important as the time spent engaged upon it.  When children were asked how long they spent in active exercise it was clear that those who were most active performed the best in the classroom.  In an extensive three-year study of young children from the U.S in the age range of 5 to 8 it was noted that when these children were given extra exercise time of 90 minutes per week they improved their academic performance on spelling, reading and number work and also gained less weight.

Exercise Improves School Grades

There are a number of factors which could account for the noted improvements in performance brought on by exercise.  Children have been observed to have enhanced concentration and better behaviour patterns when they have been involved in physical exertion.  In addition to this exercise is known to promote additional blood flow to the brain aiding brain activity performance.

This research comes at an important time when US schools are making choices regarding the increasing of time given to academic school work at the expense of the time allocated to physical activity.

How Much Physical Education Do Children Need?

The research findings, which were highlighted in the journal of the Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine add to the concerns of the American Heart Association who have expressed concerns that U.S. children do not undertake sufficient physical education.  Targets for the amount of time considered necessary for a healthy lifestyle include two and a half hours of  activity and 20 minutes of recess every day.

[box type=”important”]One lead researcher confirmed that schools should prioritize both academic performance and exercise and that this should be encouraged and supported by families in the home.[/box]


Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

2 thoughts on “Exercise Boosts School Performance

  • January 9, 2012 at 11:28 am

    This is such an important aspect that many forget to mention. Away from video games and outside playing again is the key just like Dr. Christopher Lauria indicated. This is a great article and we will definitely be sharing with our friends.


  • January 9, 2012 at 6:31 am

    So many children are spending less doing physical activity and more time in front of their computers and video games. We need to get them outside playing again.

    Great article on the positive effects of physical education.

    Dr Christopher Lauria


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