More Research Suggests That Active Kids Perform Better Academically

This one is for all of the moms, dads, and older siblings out there that frequently interact with kids. It’s no secret that physical activity, especially in youth, has a huge benefit for current and future health. A kid doesn’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from regular physical activity and exercise.

In fact, there’s been more research performed suggesting how a youth’s physical activity can improve grades and academic performance. Over the last few years in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health has helped orchestrate something called Active Schools Minnesota.

For the initiative, 14 pilot elementary schools were enlisted and followed to track their progress. The initiative requires participating schools to help students achieve at least 60-minutes of physical activity a day. In their initiative, they require schools to perform at least two strategies suggested to get kids more active throughout the school day.

Below are the four strategies the initiative have used to up a youth’s activity levels.

  • Quality physical education
  • Active classrooms
  • Active recess
  • Physical activity during out-of-school time (such as Safe Routes to School

[Should kids work out? Here’s how structured workouts can benefit their health.]

From their research, they found that students who participated and met the recommended amounts for aerobic fitness were 250% were more likely to have a healthy weight. On the academic side, those who followed the recommendations were 27% more efficient in math, and 24% in reading. In addition, teachers reported that active students tended to be better behaved in the classroom, and were increasingly more active learners.

This study shouldn’t come as a shock to many, as the benefits of physical activity have been suggested to improve a youth’s academic performance for many years. And while this study’s findings aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, I thought it was worth writing on because sometimes people forget how a healthy body correlates to a healthy mind.

We often realize how important exercise is as we get older, but forget that starting these habits early on are a huge key to one’s long-term success. Props to Minnesota for taking a stronger initiative to get kids more active and teach better habits.

Feature image screenshot from @hasslefreebbc Instagram page. 

Editor’s Note: Blogger and BarBend reader Nadia Ruiz had the following to add after reading this article:

“As an educator, coach, and athlete, I have found across the board how physical activity and/or participation in team or individual sports increase the likelihood children will perform better academically. Children learn social interaction, social compromise, patience, focus, analytical skills among others from sports that translate well not only into their studies, but also their life. A driven athlete tends to be a driven student.”

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.