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Academic Performance Linked to Physical Activity, Study Finds

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(AMSTERDAM) -- A healthy body means a healthy mind, and according to a new report by a group of Dutch researchers, there's some truth to that old adage.

Spending more time in the classroom and less time playing outside may, in fact, be the absolutely wrong choice when it comes to getting better grades.
According to a review of multiple studies, published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, there is "strong evidence" linking better grades to physical activity.
Researchers looked at 14 previous studies -- most conducted in the United States that involved more than 12,000 children between the ages of 6 and 18 -- and found that "participation in physical activity is positively related to academic performance."
There could be several reasons why.

Exercise may:

  1. Increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
  2. Reduce stress and improve mood, making children more likely to behave in the classroom.
  3. Improve concentration and discipline. Simply put, children who participate in sports learn to obey rules.

Because not all the studies reviewed were considered "high-quality," the authors call for future research to confirm their findings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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