A study of 2,000 twelve year old has shown that increased physical activity stimulates learning and improves school performance.
The young Swedish students were given two hours of extra play and motion activities a week in collaboration with a local sports club.
When the effect was evaluated the results were “clear” according to the scientists.
A larger proportion of the students who engaged in the physical activity did better in Swedish, English and Maths.
The researchers found that the two hours of extra physical activity each week “doubled the odds that a pupil achieves the national learning goals,” said scientist and neurologist Thomas Linden at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
“The results are so consistent and point clearly in one direction that we believe that we have a scientific base for our conclusion: extra physical activity seems to help children succeed in school.
“It’s being discussed whether more physical education in school would take time from academic subjects, and in this way weaken school performance.
“Our study shows that exactly the opposite may be the case.” says Lindén.
The findings are published in the Journal of School Health.