Play up, play the game and get better results in the classroom

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

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

A team of scientists in the Netherlands pooled data from 14 studies with sample sizes ranging from 53 to 12,000 participants who were aged between six and 18.

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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.