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Physical Activity Determines Academic Performance

According to a study published on August 3, 2006, by researchers from Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University, Middle school students// who are physically more active show better academic performance than those who are less active.

The American College of Sports Medicine has published the findings of this research in the August issue of their official journal; Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

In this study, more than 200 sixth graders were studied for one whole academic year.

50% of the students were given the general physical education class in the school while the other half underwent the non-physical education course for one semester. In the second semester, the students were made to switch courses.

The researchers found that students taking the physical education course did no better or worse in their academic classes.

However, they also found that students who took part in more vigorous physical activities – such as organized sports like soccer or football, or non-organized after-school activities such as skateboarding – did approximately 10 percent better in core classes such as math, science, English and social studies.

“We have precious few studies that link activity or fitness to measurable academic outcomes,” said Jim Pivarnik, an MSU professor with appointments in kinesiology, epidemiology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation who is one of the study’s co-authors. “Considering all the factors that go into what determines students’ grades in school, a 10 percent increase by the most physically active kids is huge.”

It’s long been speculated that fitness and improved academic performance go hand in hand, said Dawn Podulka Coe, the study’s lead author who was a Michigan State University doctoral student when she led the project.

“Physical education and activity during the school day reduce boredom and help keep kids’ attention in the classroom,” s
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