Want to help your kids get better grades at school? Get them moving. That’s the message from a Dutch research linking physical activity with better academic performance.
The authors, led by Dr Amika Singh, from Vrije University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, wrote in the journal Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: “According to the best-evidence synthesis, we found strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance.
Scientists in the Netherlands identified 10 observational and four interventional studies for review. Twelve of the studies were conducted in the United States, plus one in Canada and one in South Africa. Sample sizes ranged from 53 to about 12,000 participants between the ages of 6 years and 18 years. Follow-up varied from eight weeks to more than five years.
“According to the best-evidence synthesis, we found strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance. The findings of one high-quality intervention study and one high-quality observational study suggest that being more physically active is positively related to improved academic performance in children,” the authors comment.
Experts speculate that exercise may boost academic performance in various ways, including: burning off pent-up energy and allowing kids to pay attention better and focus on their work; boosting self-esteem and mood; and increasing blood flow to the brain, helping with memory and concentration.
The report appears in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.