If you want to help your kids do better in their academics, you may want to try emphasizing the importance of exercise. A previous study's findings showed that physical fitness helps improve kids' performance in school, and a new report published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine supports this.

To gather evidence, researchers reviewed 14 studies that looked at students’ physical activity in relation to their performance in math, language, and other core subjects. Some studies were observational reports in which researchers first interviewed parents, teachers, and the students themselves about how often they participated in physical activities and then observed how they fared in class for a few months. Other studies were more direct in nature. Students were divided into two groups. One group was given extra time for more fitness activities while the other simply carried on as usual.

Most of the studies reported that physical activity does have a positive effect on academics. Those who admitted to participating in more physical activities actually did better in the classroom. And in one study, elementary school students who were given an additional 90 minutes per week for physical activity did better in spelling, reading, and math.

However, the link doesn’t seem to be as strong for students who were part of a varsity team. Based on the reports, increased exercise is what really counts. The physical activity in question doesn’t have to be a full-blown aerobic workout. "Maybe it's an activity break; stand up every half an hour in class and do something,” says Amika Singh, one of the researchers of the study.

In reality, physical education classes are not given as much importance as the other classes. However, the results of these studies should at least prompt you, if not the school, to put importance on physical activity. Instead of watching TV on weekends, you could suggest going out for a bike ride or going to the park with the family dog. Let your kids engage in a bit of exercise, and watch them grow into their potential.

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Encourage your kids to do more physical activity with these ideas:


(Photo by CWMGary via sxc.hu)

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