Exercise or sitting still? What works best for overly active children?
A new study questions the wisdom of cutting gym and exercise classes in schools across the country.
According to the study published in the Journal of Pediatric Research at the University of Illinois, small amounts of exercise enable children to improve their focus and academic performance. The study tested students with A.D.H.D. and those without and found that both groups of students performed better academically after exercise.
Researchers discussed their finding in a New York Times article, Put the Physical in Education:
While there were few measurable differences in any of the children’s scores after quiet reading, they all showed marked improvements in their math and reading comprehension scores after the exercise. More striking, the children with A.D.H.D. significantly increased their scores on a complicated test, one in which they had to focus on a single cartoon fish on-screen while other cartoon fish flashed on-screen to distract them. Brain-wave readings showed that after exercise, the children with A.D.H.D. were better able to regulate their behavior, which helped them pay attention. They responded more nimbly to mistakes like incorrect keystrokes. In short, the children with A.D.H.D. were better students academically after exercise. So were the students without A.D.H.D.
While the short-term study leaves many questions unanswered, the initial research clearly shows that exercise is beneficial for dealing with children with attention-control problems.
Have your experiences been consistent or contrary to the new research?