Previous research has shown that physical activity is linked to better cognitive functioning, reading comprehensionand improved language skills in children. A new study further confirms that physically active children have higher academic performances compared to sedentary children.
The findings, published in PLOS ONE, reveal that physical activity during the school day is related to better reading skills and higher mathematical test scores in grades 1-3. And although both girls and boys were shown to benefit from physical activity, boys appeared to benefit more so when various factors were controlled for in girls
To test the relationships of physical activity and sedentary behavior to academic performance, the researchers assessed 186 children in the first grade. Children’s reading fluency, reading comprehension, and arithmetic skills were examined throughout grades 1-3.
The researchers gathered information on children’s participation in organized sports, physical activity during school hours, and whether they walked or biked to school. The various sedentary activities children engaged in during their leisure time, such as watching television or playing video games, were also recorded.
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