The section below links to four summaries, looking at decades of research, and finds the following:

Students who are more physically active...

  • Have improved attention
  • Spend more time on task
  • Have faster cognitive processing speeds
  • Have better grades
  • Perform better on standardized tests
  • Have less mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Have better physical fitness
  • Are less likely to have unhealthy weight status

Students should be physically active at least 60 minutes per day, including 30 minutes at school

Allocating school time to physical activity does not hurt academic outcomes, and often improves them

Research summaries

Active Living Research (2015)

"Active Education: Growing Evidence on Physical Activity and Academic Performance"

ACSD (2012)

"Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child"

Institute of Medicine (2013)

"Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School"

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010)

"The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance"