Physical activity, academic performance and cognition in children and adolescents. A systematic review
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.
- 1. Tammelin T, Ekelund U, Remes J, Nayha S. Physical activity and sedentary behaviors among Finnish youth. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39(7):1067-1074.
- 2. Janssen I, Leblanc AG. Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school- aged children and youth. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2010;7:40.
- 3. Colcombe S, Kramer AF. Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults: a meta-analytic study. Psychol Sci 2003;14(2):125-130.
- 4. Hillman CH, Erickson KI, Kramer AF. Be smart, exercise your heart: Exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nat Rev Neurosci 2008;9(1):58-65.
- 5. Rovio S, Kareholt I, Viitanen M, et al. Work-related physical activity and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2007;22(9):874-882.
- 6. Whitmer RA. Type 2 diabetes and risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2007;7(5):373-380.
- 7. Sibley BA, Etnier JL. The relationship between physical activity and cognition in children: a meta- analysis. Pediatr Exerc Sci 2003;15(3):243-256.
- 8. Trudeau F, Shephard RJ. Physical education, school physical activity, school sports and academic performance. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2008;5:10.
- 9. Tomporowski PD. Effects of acute bouts of exercise on cognition. Acta Psychol 2003;112(3):297-324.
- 10. Hillman CH, Kamijo K, Scudder M. A review of chronic and acute physical activity participation on neuroelectric measures of brain health and cognition during childhood. Prev Med 2011;52:21-28.
- 11. Knaepen K, Goekint M, Heyman EM, Meeusen R. Neuroplasticity - exercise-induced response of peripheral brain-derived neurotrophic factor: a systematic review of experimental studies in human subjects. Sports Med 2010;40(9):765-801.
- 12. Olds TS, Tomkinson GR, Ferrar KE, Maher CA. Trends in the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity in Australia between 1985 and 2008. Int J Obes 2010;34(1):57-66.
- 13. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. JAMA 2012;307(5):483-490.
- 14. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. Physical activity guidelines advisory committee report. Washington, D.C. US; 2008.
- 15. Taras H, Potts-Datema W. Obesity and student performance at school. J Sch Health 2005;75(8):291- 295.
- 16. Li Y, Dai Q, Jackson JC, Zhong J. Overweight is associated with decreased cognitive functioning among school-aged children and adolescents. Obesity 2008;16:1809-1815.
- 17. Alatupa S, Pulkki-Raback L, Hintsanen M, et al. School performance as a predictor of adulthood obesity: a 21-year follow-up study. Eur J Epidemiol 2010;25(4):267-274.
- 18. Taras H. Physical activity and student performance at school. J Sch Health 2005;75(6):214-218.
- 19. Verhagen A, de Vet H, de Bie R, et al. The Delphi list: a criteria list for quality assessment of randomized clinical trials for conducting systematic reviews developed by Delphi consensus. J Clin Epidemiol 1998;51:1235-1241.
- 20. Maher C, Sherrington C, Herbert R, Moseley A, Elkins M. Reliability of the PEDro Scale for rating quality of randomized trials. Physical Therapy 2003;83:713-721.
- 21. Dwyer T, Coonan W, Leitch D, Hetzel B, Baghurst R. An investigation of the effects of daily physical activity on the health of primary school students in South Australia. Int J Epidemiol 1983;12(3):308-313.
- 22. Budde H, Voelcker-Rehage C, Pietrassyk-Kendziorra S, Ribeiro P, Tidow G. Acute coordinative exercise improves attentional performance in adolescents. Neurosci Lett 2008;441(2):219-223.
- 23. Budde H, Voelcker-Rehage C, Pietrassyk-Kendziorra S, Machado S, Ribeiro P, Arafat A. Steroid hormones in the saliva of adolescents after different exercise intensities and their influence on working memory in a school setting. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2010;35:382-391.
- 24. Davis CL, Tomporowski PD, McDowell JE, et al. Exercise improves executive function and achievement and alters brain activation in overweight children: a randomized, controlled trial. Health Psychology 2011;30(1>:91-98.
- 25. Moher D, Hopewell S, Schultz K, et al. CONSORT: 2010 explanation and elaboration: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomized trials. J Clin Epidemiol 2010;63:e1-e37.
- 26. Sallis J, McKenzie T, Kolody B, Lewis M, Marshall S, Rosengard P. Effects of health-related physical education on academic achievement: project SPARK. Res Q Exerc Sport 1999;70(2):127-134.
- 27. Zervas Y, Danis A, Klissouras V. Influence of physical exertion on mental performance with reference to training. Percept Mot Skills 1991;72(3):1215-1221.
- 28. McNaughten D, Gabbard C. Physical exertion and immediate mental performance of sixth-grade children. Percept Mot Skills 1993;77(3):1155-1159.
- 29. Ellenberg D, St-Louis-Deschenes M. The effect of acute physical exercise on cognitive function during development. Psych Sport Exerc 2010;11:122-126.
- 30. Ahamed Y, Macdonald H, Reed K, Naylor P, Liu-Ambrose T, McKay H. School-based physical activity does not compromise children's academic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39(2):371-376.
- 31. Smith PJ, Blumenthal JA, Hoffman BM, et al. Aerobic exercise and neurocognitive performance: a meta- analytic review of randomized controlled trials. Psychosom Med 2010;72:239-252.
- 32. Chmura J, Nazar K, Kaciuba-Uściłko H. Choice reaction time during graded exercise in relation to bloodlactate and plasma catecholamine thresholds. Int J Sports Med 1994;15:172-176.
- 33. Yanagisawa H, Dan I, Tsuzuki D, et al. Acute moderate exercise elicits increased dorsolateral prefrontal activation and improves cognitive performance with Stroop test. Neuroimage 2010;50(4):1702-1710.
- 34. Ekkekakis P. Illuminating the Black Box: Investigating prefrontal cortical hemodynamics during exercise with near-infrared spectroscopy. J Sport Exercise Psychol 2009;31(4):505-553.
- 35. Zervas Y, Stambulova N. Physical activity and cognitive Functioning. In: Auweele YV, editor. Psychology for physical educators Champaign (Ill.): Human Kinetics; 1999. p. 154.
- 36. Castelli DM, Hillman CH, Buck SM, Erwin HE. Physical fitness and academic achievement in third- and fifth-grade students. J Sport Exercise Psychol 2007;29(2):239-252.
- 37. Aberg MAI, Pedersen N, Toren K, et al. Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2009;106(49):20906-11.
- 38. Stroth S, Kubesch S, Dieterle K, Ruchsow M, Heim R, Kiefer M. Physical fitness, but not acute exercise modulates event-related potential indices for executive control in healthy adolescents. Brain Res 2009;1269:114-124.