Physical activity and educational success
‘Learning to move, moving to learn?’, an article for Psychology Today, highlights an interesting case study on the relationship between physical activity and educational success.
Although carried out in the 1950s, the study cut 15 hours of formal lessons a week and replaced them with physical activities. The results, as described by Dr Richard Bailey for Psychology Today, were quite something: ‘Despite the loss of more than a quarter of their classroom teaching time, the academic grades of the experimental group did not worsen, and in many cases actually improved. What’s more, the teachers reported fewer discipline problems, greater attentiveness in class and less absenteeism.”
There is an added note of caution, namely that this was a small-scale study (though it did use a control group) and wasn’t subjected to peer review and other checks and balances.
However, although many questions remain, the article points out that it is ‘worth noting that numerous studies have found that physically fit children tend to outperform their less fit peers’.
Clearly, there is much research still to be done to provide more definitive guidance but it is without question that physical activities that are made fun, exciting, inclusive and varied can do more than just improve our physical health.