Physical Exercise Linked to School Performance
The more physical exercise children engage in, the better they perform academically, a new Dutch report says. According to HealthDay News, researchers from Vrije Universiteit Medical Center in Amsterdam reviewed 14 studies on the subject and found that play increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which leads to better classroom performance.
“We found strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance,” the researchers said in a journal news release. “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 researchers, led by Amika Singh at the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, reviewed 14 studies from the United States, Canada and South Africa. The studies ranged in size from 50 participants to 12,000, and looked at children from the ages of six to 18, HealthDay said.
In mapping out a reason for the connection, investigators pointed to increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain as well as an increase in the hormones responsible for limiting stress and boosting mood. Physical exercise also works to create new nerve cells and promote synapse flexibility, the Dutch team said.