Schoolchildren may have an easier time learning if exercise is part of their math and spelling lessons, a new study suggests.Dutch researchers found that second- and third-graders given “physically active” lessons did better on math and spelling tests, compared with their peers who learned the old-fashioned way.
Experts not involved with the study called the findings “encouraging.” But they also said it’s too soon to push for physically active classrooms everywhere. Weaving exercise into traditional lessons could offer the “amazing possibility” of helping kids learn, while also helping them stay healthy, said Sara Benjamin Neelon, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore.
“The take-home message is that physically active lessons may be a novel way to increase physical activity and improve academic performance at the same time,” said Benjamin Neelon, who co-wrote an editorial published with the study.
But, she added, there are still big unknowns: For one, the study was done in the Netherlands, and it’s not clear that the results would extend to the diverse school systems in the United States.More