So what is the connection between physical activity and academic performance? Reading this dissertation by Karen Rodenroth submitted in 2010 to the Faculty of the School of Education, Liberty University, might give you an idea.
In this study, fourth and fifth grade students’ physical fitness levels were compared to their academic achievement based on the idea that health and physical fitness have an impact on the ability to achieve academically.
Because of the recent pressures of No Child Left Behind, many schools have opted to limit the amount of time students spend in physical education classes and recess. With the increased percentages of students who suffer from diabetes and other health related risks, eliminating or reducing physical activity from the school day is not the answer.
Data was collected from 90 students (46 males and 44 females) during the 2009-2010 school year by using the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test, STAR Reading Percentile scores, and Grade Point Averages (GPA‘s).
Through multiple regressions, the researcher did not find statistically significant relationships between physical fitness levels and STAR Reading Percentiles or between physical fitness levels and Grade Point Averages. When physical fitness levels were combined with STAR Reading percentile scores, a significant correlation was found between these two variables and Grade Point Averages. A significant correlation was found between physical fitness levels and mathematics.
Lastly, another significant correlation was found between STAR, Grade Point Averages, and sit ups. With these varying results, the researcher decided to retain the following null hypotheses of this study: there will not be a significant relationship between physical fitness scores based on the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test and academic performance based on STAR Reading Percentile scores for fourth and fifth graders at the participating school, and there will not be a significant relationship between physical fitness scores based on the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test and academic performance based on Grade Point Averages for fourth and fifth graders at the participating school.
This study does not prove causality; therefore, the results should be interpreted with caution.
Rodenroth, K. (2010) A Study of the Relationship between Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Dissertation. Available from World Wide Web: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1377&context=doctoral. [Accessed: 20 November, 2013].