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Exercise Helps Boys Score More in Reading, Math Tests

Sep 13, 2014 05:22 AM EDT
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High levels of physical activity in the first few years of life helps boys to score better in math and reading tests, a new study has found.

No such link between exercise and academics was found in girls, showing that there is gender difference in how early physical activity affects children. The study also shows the importance of recess and sports in children's academic life.

"More time spent in physical activity during recess, physically active school transportation, engagement in any organized sports and sedentary behavior related to academic skills were associated with better academic skills during the first school years in children," researchers said, according to Medical News Today.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland. The team found that math and reading scores were higher in boys who had highest levels of physical activity, especially around 3 years of age.

One hundred and eighty six children participated in the study, of which 79 were girls. Children were between ages six and eight years and had undergone math and reading tests at the end of grades 1 to 3.

The researchers found that boys who walked or bicycled to school had better reading skills than less active boys. Children who spent leisure time reading or playing video games also had higher reading and math scores compared to other boys of the same age group, according to a news release.

The study is published in the journal PLOS One.

The latest research is one of the several studies that have linked physical activity to higher academic success. Related research has even shown that moderate exercise before school can even help control Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms in at-risk children, allowing them to concentrate more in the classroom.

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