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Get your kids running if you want good exam grades

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Get your kids running if you want good exam grades

Want your kids to do well in their exams? Then get them running—the fitter they are, the better their grades are likely to be, a new study has found.

There’s a link between cardiorespiratory fitness and improved mental powers and that, in turn, improves a child’s grade levels, say researchers at Geneva University.

They assessed the fitness and mental sharpness of 193 schoolchildren aged between eight and 12 years, and had them do some running exercises to test their cardiovascular levels before they sat down to complete nine mental tasks.

The tasks measured three key mental functions: inhibition, when we can blank out distractions and irrelevant thoughts; cognitive flexibility, otherwise known as multitasking; and working memory, our ability to retain information.

The children who were the fittest also scored the highest marks in mathematics and French tests. But the connection was indirect, the researchers said; physical fitness has the biggest impact on our executive functions, our ability to carry out tasks, and this in turn has a direct impact on school performance.

The results emphasise the importance of wholistic education, where physical activity plays as important a role as mental learning. Reducing play and sports ultimately has a counter-productive effect, the researchers say, or as the old adage has it: all work and no play….

(Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2021, doi: 10.1249/MSS.00000000000002630)

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