Exercise boosts kids’ and young people’s brain power and academic prowess, says a consensus statement on physical activity in schools and during leisure time, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Time taken away from lessons for physical activity is time well spent and does not come at the cost of getting good grades, say the 24 signatories to the statement.
The Statement, which distils the best available evidence on the impact of physical activity on children and young people, was drawn up by a panel of international experts with a wide range of specialisms, from the UK, Scandinavia, and North America, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in April of this year.
It includes 21 separate statements on the four themes of fitness and health; intellectual performance; engagement, motivation and wellbeing; and social inclusion, and spans structured and unstructured forms of physical activity for 6 to 18 year olds in school and during leisure time.
It says that:
- Physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are good for children’s and young people’s brain development and function as well as their intellect
- A session of physical activity before, during, and after school boosts academic prowess
- A single session of moderately energetic physical activity has immediate positive effects on brain function, intellect, and academic performance
- Mastery of basic movement boosts brain power and academic performance
- Time taken away from lessons in favour of physical activity does not come at the cost of getting good grades