“If moderate to vigorous physical activity does influence academic attainment this has implications for public health and education policy by providing schools and parents with a potentially important stake in meaningful and sustained increases in physical activity.”
A report from the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that pupils who increase their amount of exercise on a daily basis may increase their chances to improve their school results in a series of key academic subjects.The study, led by Dr Josephine Booth, from Dundee, and Prof John Reilly, from Strathclyde, found that grades in English, maths and science improved in direct correlation with the amount of physical activity undertaken in the average day.
The scientists based their analysis of almost 5,000 school children born in the early 90s, monitoring their physical activity levels at the age 11 over the course of a week before tracking them throughout their education. The duration and intensity of the physical activity levels were measured using a device called an accelerometer, worn on an elasticated belt. Results concluded that an average of 60 minutes “moderate to vigorous” exercise might be the difference between achieving a C or B grade for pupils sitting their GCSEs.
For Boys’, every additional 17 minutes’ of exercise partaken over the average amount when at the age of 11 improved their GCSE results, while girls showed an development for every extra 12 minutes.
The study was adjusted to include other factors which may influence education such as a child’s birth weight, whether their mothers had smoked during pregnancy, weight and socioeconomic background, thus displaying one of the most significant findings in the importance of exercise to children over recent years.
It is believed that physical activity may help stimulate chemicals in the brain that lead to improvements of academic performance, exercise outside may relieve stress and pressure whilst the involvement in team sports may boost confidence.
There are many ways to increase the amount of physical activity in children both in and out of school time. Children and young people need to look to minimise their time sat indoors and spend time walking or cycling when safe.Walking to school may be a prime example or look to encourage an element of fun with the inclusion of rollerblading, scootering or skateboarding. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity may raise heart rate and break sweat. This may be achieved by school games such as tag and general running around in the playground.
Energetic dancing, aerobics and gymnastics may all be performed with enough space in living room areas. Whilst venturing outside to the park may offer a range of helpful physical motions such as building strength on the monkey bars, speed pushing a roundabout and balance on a majority of equipment.
Children may have energy to burn and all which is needed if the safety and guidance to allows this to happen, climbing a real life tree may serve a better option. Team games and clubs help promote physical activity in turn with social skills, discipline and developing friendships; however the core of promoting a healthy lifestyle starts from home.
What other physical activity may support improvements in a child’s health?