Physical activity in the classroom significantly improves learning success

Physical activity in the classroom significantly improves learning success

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Better performance in school through classroom activity?

The inclusion of physical activity in academic teaching has a significant impact on learning outcomes.

A recent study by the University of London (UCL) and Leiden University in the Netherlands found that physical activity during class improves learning outcomes. The study was published in the English-language journal "British Journal of Sports Medicine".

Inclusion of physical activity in academic teaching?

The results of 42 studies worldwide were evaluated for the meta-analysis. These included the data from 12,663 students aged between three and 14 years. The study aimed to assess the benefits of incorporating physical activity into academic teaching. This approach aims to increase the level of activity without shortening the lesson time. For example, math questions could be answered by jumping several times on the spot.

How did the increased physical activity affect you?

The study concludes that the inclusion of physical activity has a large, significant impact on classroom learning outcomes when it comes to testing or increasing student attention. There was less influence on the overall results of the lessons and the physical activity level of the participants also increased, the researchers report. Physical activity is beneficial for children's health. Most of the sedentary time in children's lives is the seven or eight hours a day they spend in the classroom. The study shows that physically active teaching is a useful addition to the curriculum. This can create an unforgettable learning experience, which also helps children learn more effectively.

Physically active lessons can easily be built into class

“These improvements in physical activity levels and educational outcomes are the result of very simple physical exercises. Teachers can easily incorporate these physically active lessons into the existing curriculum to improve the students' learning experience, ”says study author Dr. Tommy van Steen of Leiden University in the Netherlands in a press release. In one of the 42 studies analyzed, elementary school students who attended physically active classes three times a week for two years would have made significantly better progress in spelling and math than their peers, which corresponded to the learning success of four months. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Emma Norris, Tommy van Steen, Artur Direito, Emmanuel Stamatakis: Physically active lessons in schools and their impact on physical activity, educational, health and cognition outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis, in British Journal of Sports Medicine (query: 17.10 .2019), British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Physical activity in lessons improves students ’attainment, University of London (query: 17.10.2019), UCL

Video: Does Physical Activity Lead to Higher Grades? (August 2022).