Academic Achievement Higher Among Most Active Kids: Vigorous Physical Activity Linked To Better Grades
participate in vigorous physical activity, such as sports, perform
better in school, according to a new study released by the American
College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
active kids more often have better grades, found the examination of
activity and physical education (PE) compared to academic achievement.
between activity and academic performance was most significant when
kids met Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) guidelines for vigorous activity
20 minutes a day, at least three days a week. Grades were not affected
among kids who were moderately active for 30 minutes at least five days
a week, the study researchers found.
The study was
conducted to determine the effect of physical education class
enrollment and overall physical activity on academic achievement.
middle school-aged students participated, all of whom were randomly
assigned to a PE course for either the first (August to mid-January) or
second (mid-January to June) semester of the academic year. The
research team measured students' physical activity in and outside
school in 30-minute blocks, and compared their individual grades in
core subjects, such as English, world studies, science and mathematics.
education and activity during the school day may reduce boredom and
help keep kids attention in the classroom," said Dawn Podulka Coe,
Ph.D., the study's lead author. "We were expecting to find that
students enrolled in PE would have better grades because of the
opportunity to be active during the school day. But, enrollment in PE
alone did not influence grades. The students who performed better
academically in this study were the most active, meaning those who
participated in a sport or other vigorous activity at least three times
Most of the
vigorous activity was achieved outside the classroom, in sports such as
soccer, football, basketball and baseball/softball. Since academic
performance was favorably influencedby this level of activity, the
researchers suggest incorporating vigorous activity in PE classes.
"This is a
good tool for all of us — parents, teachers and researchers alike
— to understand what motivates students and possibly coordinate
their activity and academic needs," said Coe.
The study was
published in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports &
Exercise ®, the official journal of ACSM. The American College of
Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science
organization in the world.
For more information on the American College of Sports Medicine, visit www.acsm.org.