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Touch Wood School | Facilities

Facilities


Health & Physical Fitness

Physical Activity, Fitness, and Physical Education: Effects on Academic Performance

Key Messages

  • Evidence suggests that increasing physical activity and physical fitness may improve academic performance and that time in the school day dedicated to recess, physical education class, and physical activity in the classroom may also facilitate academic performance.

  • Available evidence suggests that mathematics and reading are the academic topics that are most influenced by physical activity. These topics depend on efficient and effective executive function, which has been linked to physical activity and physical fitness.

  • Executive function and brain health underlie academic performance. Basic cognitive functions related to attention and memory facilitate learning, and these functions are enhanced by physical activity and higher aerobic fitness.

  • Single sessions of and long-term participation in physical activity improve cognitive performance and brain health. Children who participate in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity benefit the most.

  • Given the importance of time on task to learning, students should be provided with frequent physical activity breaks that are developmentally appropriate.

  • Although presently understudied, physically active lessons offered in the classroom may increase time on task and attention to task in the classroom setting.

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