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Want your children to perform better at school and be happier Then get them out on the playing field


Physical activity can improve academic achievement in children and teenagers (picture posed by models)

Physical activity can improve academic achievement in children and teenagers (picture posed by models)

Schoolchildren may be able to boost their classroom performance by getting out on the playing field, a study suggests.

A review of previous research found evidence that physical activity can improve academic achievement in children and teenagers.

Scientists in the Netherlands pooled data from 14 studies with sample sizes ranging from 53 to 12,000 participants aged between six and 18.

The authors, led by Dr Amika Singh,
from Vrije University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, wrote in the journal
Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: 'According to the
best-evidence synthesis, we found strong evidence of a significant
positive relationship between physical activity and academic
performance.

'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.'

Exercise may help mental faculties by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain, reducing stress and improving mood, said the researchers.

Physical activity could also boost levels of growth factors that help generate new nerve cells and assist the 'rewiring' of neurons.

Exercise may help mental faculties by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain, reducing stress and improving mood

Exercise may help mental faculties by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain, reducing stress and improving mood (picture posed by models)

The researchers added: 'Relatively few studies of high methodological quality have explored the relationship between physical activity and academic performance.

'More high-quality studies are needed on the dose-response relationship between physical activity and academic performance and on the explanatory mechanisms, using reliable and valid measurement instruments to assess this relationship accurately.'