With the rise of “ADHD” diagnosis in our children and the cuts to physical education, one study from The Journal of Pediatrics, seems to suggest that this lack of exercise directly corresponds to why our kids can’t seem to concentrate in school.
Other studies have also shown a connection between physical activity and academic achievement, but it was never clear which came first, the activity or the academics.
Researchers at the University of Illinois studied a group of 40 elementary-age kids (both boys and girls) with ADHD. The children were asked to take normal academic tests. The first tests they took were preceded by an immobile activity such as reading quietly for 20 minutes. Afterwards they were put through a series of physical activities, such as running or jumping before being asked to take the same academic tests again. During each of the testing periods the children wore electrodes to monitor their brain activity.
An article in The New York Times article summarizes:
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.”
Which means that while we have continued to tell these struggling kids to sit down and be still, the data seems to be pointing in the opposite direction. Perhaps what they really need is to get up and move!
Put the Physical in Education via The New York Times
Exercise improves behavioral, neurocognitive, and scholastic performance in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. via National Center for Biotechnology Information