Moderate to vigorous exercise helps improve teens’ academic grades
Washington – Doing moderate to vigorous exercise regularly improves teens’ academic performance, and particularly seems to help girls do better in science, a new study has revealed.
Researchers based their findings on a representative sample of almost 5000 children who were all part of the Children of the 90s study, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
The duration and intensity of the children’s daily physical activity levels were measured for periods of between three and seven days, when they were aged 11, using a device called an accelerometer, worn on an elasticated belt.
It was found that the average daily number of minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise the 11 year olds clocked up was 29 for boys and 18 for girls-significantly less than the recommended 60 minutes.
The children’s academic performance in English, maths, and science was then formally assessed at the ages of 11, 13, and 15 or 16.
The analysis showed that at the age of 11, better academic performance across all three subjects was linked to the amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity undertaken. Physical activity benefited girls’ performance in science, in particular.
Academic performance at the age of 13 was similarly linked to how much moderate to vigorous exercise pupils had had at the age of 11, while by the age of 15 or16 GCSE exam results also showed a link to exercise, with an increase in performance for every additional 17 minutes per day (boys) and 12 minutes per day (girls) spent doing more intensive exercise at the age of 11.
The study is published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.