January 5, 2012
Physical Activity Linked To Better Academic Performance
Researchers reported recently that how well children perform academically may be linked to how physically active they are.
Dutch researchers said they found strong evidence of a link between exercise and academic performance.
In the study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the team reviewed 14 other studies involving over 12,00 children.
The researchers said they found that exercise may help academics by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. However, the authors said more accurate and reliable measurement instruments were needed to see the link in better detail.
The researchers said they decided to perform this study because of concerns that pressure to improve children's school marks could mean they spend more time in the classroom and less doing physical activity.
The authors identified 10 observational and four interventional studies for the review. Twelve of the studies were conducted in the U.S., one in Canada and one in South Africa.
They found strong evidence of a "significant positive relationship" between physical activity and academic performance using two of the studies that were rated as being of high quality.
Physical activity could reduce stress and improve mood, which inevitably makes children more likely to behave in the classroom.
"Children who learn to participate in sport also learn to obey rules," Dr Amika Singh of the VU University Medical Center said in a press release. "This may mean they are more disciplined and able to concentrate better during lessons."
The team said more studies examining the relationship between physical activity and academic performance was needed.
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