Physical Activity and Academic Performance in Children and Preadolescents: A Systematic Review
Physical activity (PA) is an essential means of improving physical and mental health. Its influence on various cognitive aspects such as attention, memory and concentration has been widely studied and it may have a close relationship with academic performance. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the relationship between doing physical activity and academic performance in schoolchildren. The Web of Science (WOS) repository was used as the main search engine with the selection of longitudinal and experimental studies published in the last five years as the primary criterion. A total sample of 23 research papers was obtained in which intervention programmes based on physical exercise were used to improve academic performance or related parameters. The main findings include the need for PA or physical exercise to be prescribed with adequate volume and intensity parameters, since an insufficient load is not related to academic and/or cognitive performance. Similarly, gross motor tasks and team sports are more effective as they involve greater cognitive demands. The fields of mathematics and logical thinking benefited most.