• Adam Smith Institute

    Adam Smith Institute place holder
  • Philosophy & Logic

    Philosophy and Logic
  • Cambridge

    Cambridge
  • Children’s SF

    Children's Science Fiction
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 418 other followers

Physical exercise seems to boost children’s academic ability as well as their bodily health

kids-exerciseA new study from the Universities of Strathclyde and Dundee (published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine) suggests that intensive exercise boosts the academic performance of teenagers.  The study of 5,000 youngsters found that exercise was linked to higher exam grades in English, Mathematics and Science.  For boys a daily exercise of 17 minutes registered an academic improvement, and for girls it was 12 minutes.  The improvement averaged about a quarter of a grade for each 15 minutes of activity.  The effect was noticeable at 11 years old, at 13 and in the exams taken at 16 years old.  Girls in particular showed improvement in science correlated with physical activity.  The authors suggest that a full 60 minutes of daily exercise could conceivably boost performance by a full grade, though they admitted that since very few children actually did this amount, they were projecting from very small numbers.

It sounds plausible, especially since other studies link regular exercise with mental as well as physical well-being in adults.  It seems sensible to do regular exercise if you can.  I do about 35 minutes in the gym pretty well every morning unless I’m traveling.  The fact that it’s a routine makes it easier.  It’s my way of starting the day.  Since I’m unlikely to take many more exams, I can’t really assess whether it improves my academic performance, though I certainly feel more mentally alert as a result.  My caveat over the report is that there does not appear to have been a control group.  The correlation between the exercisers and the achievers might possibly therefore result from higher levels of motivation rather than from the effects of exercise on performance.  It could conceivably be character we are looking at rather than stimulus.

Advertisements

One Response

  1. “The correlation between the exercisers and the achievers might possibly therefore result from higher levels of motivation rather than from the effects of exercise on performance.”

    Yes, in common with most of the nanny state health studies which find their way into the press and media via journalists pasting press releases into their articles, this study suggests nothing except a link between exercise and academic performance, although, like you, I find exercise helps me mentally. But I know very eminent academics who get out of breath climbing a flight of stairs and probably avoided school PE like the plague.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: