2012, Volume 4, Issue 1

Physical Activity, Academic Performance and Cognition in Children and Adolescents. A Systematic Review

Eero Haapala1

1Institute of Biomedicine, University of Eastern Finland

Author for correspondence: Eero Haapala; Institute of Biomedicine, University of Eastern Finland; email: ehaapala@atudent.uef.fi

DOI: 10.2478/v10131-012-0007-y

Full text


A literature review was conducted to investigate the effect of physical exercise and physical training on cognition and academic performance in children and adolescents. Nine randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials with 2,013 participants were identified by employing the following data sources: the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials, Medline, Eric, CINAHL, PsychINFO, and ISI Web of Knowledge. Five studies indicated positive effects of physical exercise on attention, concentration,
and working memory, and three studies reported positive effects of 14 to 64 week physical training on language and arithmetic skills. Thus, there is some evidence that physical exercise may facilitate cognitive functions related to learning and enhance
academic performance.

Key words: physical activity, cognition, academic performance, children, adolescents