Key to Kids Getting Better Grades in Math — is More Active Gym Classes?

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.

Improving physical education classes at school could be the key to students’ academic success, especially in math, a new study suggests.

Dance, martial arts, and high-intensity team sports have a big impact on children’s academic prowess because they are “cognitively challenging”. Researchers say instead of just increasing the number of PE classes within a week, schools should consider improving the quality of the lessons.

Not even a quarter (24 percent) of U.S. children aged six to 17 participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day, the level of physical activity recommended by the CDC. More intense gym classes could help children and teenagers meet the recommended level.

In their study, researchers systematically reviewed and pooled the data on the effects of specific physical education interventions on brainpower and academic prowess in children and teenagers. The study was carried out in eleven countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Italy, USA, U.K., Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.

The analysis shows that interventions focused on boosting the quality of PE lessons increased brainpower, mainly among primary school students. They also increased academic prowess, mainly in math skills. By contrast, boosting the number or length of PE lessons had a marginal and insignificant effect on academic performance.

The researchers say that exercise enhances cognitive abilities through various direct and indirect neurobiological, psychological, and behavioral mechanisms. “Findings from our meta-analysis suggest that improving the quality of PE classes is a worthwhile investment in education that may lead to improvements in cognition and academic performance,” the authors write.

The study is published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Source: StudyFinds

Help us reach the next generation of families

Back to Top

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)