European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 945–962 | Cite as

The academic and psychological benefits of exercise in healthy children and adolescents

Article

Abstract

This review examines the psychological benefits exercise is connected to in healthy children and adolescents. Studies on the effect of exercise on academic performance, self-esteem, emotions, and mood were examined. Academic performance is found to be maintained when normal academic classes are reduced and replaced by an increase in exercise, physical activity, or physical education. Exercise seems to have a positive effect on several aspects of cognition and self-esteem in healthy children and adolescents. A positive connection between exercise and emotions and moods in children is found in the few studies that have been conducted.

Keywords

Adolescent Child Exercise Physical activity Psychological benefits Academic performance Education 

Notes

References

  1. Ahamed, Y., Macdonald, H., Reed, K., Naylor, P.-J., Liu-Ambrose, T., & McKay, H. (2007). School-based physical activity does not compromise children’s academic performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39, 371–376. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000241654.45500.8e.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alpert, B., Field, T., Goldstein, S., & Perry, S. (1990). Aerobics enhances cardiovascular fitness and agility in preschoolers. Health Psychology, 9, 48–56. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.9.1.48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armour, K., & Jones, R. L. (1998). Physical education teachers’ lives and careers: PE, sport, and educational status. London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  4. Basile, V. C., Motta, R. W., & Allison, D. B. (1995). Antecedent exercise as a treatment for disruptive behavior: testing hypothesized mechanisms of action. Behavioral Interventions, 10, 119–140. doi: 10.1002/bin.2360100302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Budde, H., Brunelli, A., Machado, S., Velasques, B., Ribeiro, P., Arias-Carrión, O., et al. (2012). Intermittent maximal exercise improves attentional performance only in physically active students. Archives of Medical Research, 43, 125–131. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2012.02.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Budde, H., Pietrassyk-Kendziorra, S., Bohm, S., & Voelcker-Rehage, C. (2010a). Hormonal responses to physical and cognitive stress in a school setting. Neuroscience Letters, 474, 131–134. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.03.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Budde, H., Voelcker-Rehage, C., Pietrassyk-Kendziorra, S., Machado, S., Ribeiro, P., & Arafat, A. M. (2010b). Steroid hormones in the saliva of adolescents after different exercise intensities and their influence on working memory in a school setting. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35, 382–391. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.07.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Budde, H., Voelcker-Rehage, C., Pietrabyk-Kendziorra, S., Ribeiro, P., & Tidow, G. (2008). Acute coordinative exercise improves attentional performance in adolescents. Neuroscience Letters, 441, 219–223. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.06.024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Budde, H., Windisch, C., Kudielka, B. M., & Voelcker-Rehage, C. (2010c). Saliva cortisol in school children after acute physical exercise. Neuroscience Letters, 483, 16–19. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.07.036.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caspersen, C. J., Powell, K. E., & Christenson, G. M. (1985). Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: Definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public Health Reports, 100, 126–131.Google Scholar
  11. Caterino, M. C., & Polak, M. C. (1999). Effects of two types of activity on the performance of second-, third-, and fourth-grade students on a test of concentration. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 89, 245–248. doi: 10.2466/PMS.89.5.245-248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coe, D. P., Pivarnik, J. M., Womack, C. J., Reeves, M. J., & Malina, R. M. (2006). Effect of physical education and activity levels on academic achievement in children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38, 1515–1519. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000227537.13175.1b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Colcombe, S., & Kramer, A. F. (2003). Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults: A meta-analytic study. Psychological Science, 14, 125–130. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.t01-1-01430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DCMS/Strategy United. (2002). Game plan: A strategy for delivering the Government’s sport and physical activity objectives. London: Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office.Google Scholar
  15. Donnelly, P., & Coakley, J. J. (2002). The role of recreation in promoting social inclusion. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation.Google Scholar
  16. Dwyer, T., Coonan, W. E., Leitch, D. R., Hetzel, B. S., & Baghurst, P. A. (1983). An investigation of the effects of daily physical activity on the health of primary school students in South Australia. International Journal of Epidemiology, 12, 308–313. doi: 10.1093/ije/12.3.308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dwyer, T., Coonan, W. E., Worsley, A., & Leitch, D. R. (1979). An assessment of the effects of two physical activity programs on coronary heart disease risk factors in primary school children. Community Health Studies, 3, 196–202. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.1979.tb00254.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellemberg, D., & St-Louis-Deschenes, M. (2010). The effect of acute physical exercise on cognitive function during development. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 11, 122–126. doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2009.09.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Etnier, J. L., Salazar, W., Landers, D. M., Petruzello, S. J., Han, M., & Nowell, P. (1997). The influence of physical fitness and exercise upon cognitive functioning: a meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 19, 55–72.Google Scholar
  20. Gabbard, C., & Barton, J. (1979). Effects of physical activity on mathematical computation among young children. Journal of Psychology, 103, 287–288.Google Scholar
  21. Gary, V., & Guthrie, D. (1972). The effect of jogging on physical fitness and self-concept in hospitalized alcoholics. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 33, 1073–1078.Google Scholar
  22. Gruber, J. (1986). Physical activity and self-esteem development in children: A meta-analysis. In G. Stull & H. Eckern (Eds.), Effects of physical activity on children (pp. 330–348). Champaign: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  23. Hallal, P. C., Victora, C. G., Azevedo, M. R., & Wells, J. C. K. (2006). Adolescent physical activity and health a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 36, 1019–1030. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200636120-00003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hardman, K. (2004). An up-date on the status of physical education in schools worldwide: Technical report for the World Health Organization. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  25. Helmich, I., Latini, A., Sigwalt, A., Carta, M. G., Machado, S., Velasques, B., et al. (2010). Neurobiological alterations induced by exercise and their impact on depressive disorders. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health, 6, 115–125. doi: 10.2174/1745017901006010115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hervet, R. (1952). Vanves, son experience, ses perspectives. Revue de l’Institut de Sport, 24, 4–6.Google Scholar
  27. Hillman, C. H., Pontifex, M. B., Raine, L. B., Castelli, D. M., Hall, E. E., & Kramer, A. F. (2009). The effect of acute treadmill walking on cognitive control and academic achievement in preadolescent children. Neuroscience, 159, 1044–1054. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.01.057.THE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hilyer, J., & Mitchell, W. (1979). Effect of systematic physical fitness training combined with counseling on the self-concept of college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 26, 427–436. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.26.5.427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hilyer, J., Wilson, D., Dillon, C., Caro, L., Jenkins, C., Spencer, W. A., et al. (1982). Physical fitness training and counseling as treatment for youthful offenders. Journal of Counseling, 29, 292–303. doi: 10.1037//0022-0167.29.3.292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hinkle, J. S., Tuckman, B. W., & Sampson, J. P. (1993). The psychology, physiology, and the creativity of middle school aerobic exercisers. Elementary School Guidance & Conseling, 28, 133–145.Google Scholar
  31. Hughes, J. R. (1984). Psychological effects of habitual aerobic exercise: A critical review. Preventive Medicine, 13, 66–78. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(84)90041-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kirkcaldy, B. D., Shephard, R. J., & Siefen, R. G. (2002). The relationship between physical activity and self-image and problem behaviour among adolescents. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37, 544–550. doi: 10.1007/s00127-002-0554-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kirkcaldy, B. D., & Shephard, R. J. (1990). Therapeutic implications of exercise. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 21, 165–184.Google Scholar
  34. Koocher, G. P. (1971). Swimming, competence, and personality change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 18, 275–278. doi: 10.1037/h0030970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. MacMahon, J. R., & Gross, R. T. (1988). Physical and psychological effects of aerobic exercise in delinquent adolescent males. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 1911(142), 1361–1366.Google Scholar
  36. McGowan, R. W., Jarman, B. O., & Pedersen, D. M. (1974). Effects of a competitive endurance training program on self-concept and peer approval. The Journal of Psychology, 86, 57–60. doi: 10.1080/00223980.1974.9923884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Norris, R., Carroll, D., & Cochrane, R. (1992). The effects of physical activity and exercise training on psychological stress and well-being in an adolescent population. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 36, 55–65. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(92)90114-H.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. O’Connor, M. C., & Paunonen, S. V. (2007). Big five personality predictors of post-secondary academic performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 971–990. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2007.03.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Paffenbarger, R. S., Hyde, R. T., Wing, A. L., Lee, I. M., Jung, D. L., & Kampert, J. B. (1993). The association of changes in physical-activity level and other lifestyle characteristics with mortality among men. The New England Journal of Medicine, 328, 538–545. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199302253280804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pajares, F. (2003). Self-efficacy beliefs, motivation, and achievement in writing: A review of the literature. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 19, 139–158. doi: 10.1080/10573560390143085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Percy, L. E., Dziuban, C. D., & Martin, J. B. (1981). Analysis of effects of distance running on self-concepts of elementary students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 52, 42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pesce, C., Crova, C., Cereatti, L., Casella, R., & Bellucci, M. (2009). Physical activity and mental performance in preadolescents: Effects of acute exercise on free-recall memory. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2, 16–22. doi: 10.1016/j.mhpa.2009.02.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pintrich, P. R., & de Groot, E. V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 33–40. doi: 10.1037//0022-0663.82.1.33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pope, D., & Whiteley, H. (2003). Developmental dyslexia, cerebellar/vestibular brain function and possible links to exercise-based interventions: a review. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 18, 109–123. doi: 10.1080/0885625032000042348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Raustorp, A., Mattsson, E., Svensson, K., & Ståhle, A. (2006). Physical activity, body composition and physical self-esteem: A 3-year follow-up study among adolescents in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 16, 258–266. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2005.00483.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Raviv, S., & Low, M. (1990). Influence of physical activity on concentration among junior high-school students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 70, 67–74. doi: 10.2466/PMS.70.1.67-74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  48. Sallis, J. F., McKenzie, T. L., Kolody, B., Lewis, M., Marshall, S., & Rosengard, P. (1999). Effects of health-related physical education on academic achievement: Project SPARK. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 70, 127–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sallis, J. F., Patterson, T. L., Buono, M. J., & Nader, P. R. (1988). Relation of cardiovascular fitness and physical activity to cardiovascular disease risk factors in children and adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 127, 933–941.Google Scholar
  50. Salokun, S. O. (1994). Positive change in self-concept as a function of improved performance in sports. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 78, 752–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schmalz, D. L., Deane, G. D., Birch, L. L., & Davison, K. K. (2007). A longitudinal assessment of the links between physical activity and self-esteem in early adolescent non-Hispanic females. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, 559–565. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.07.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Scully, D., Kremer, J., Meade, M. M., Graham, R., & Dudgeon, K. (1998). Physical exercise and psychological well being: A critical review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 32, 111–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shephard, R. J. (1997). Curricular physical activity and academic performance. Journal of Perinatal Medicine, 9, 113–126. doi: 10.1515/jpme.1997.25.5.399.Google Scholar
  54. Shephard, R. J., Lavallée, H., Volle, M., LaBarre, R., & Beaucage, B. (1994). Academic skills and required physical education. CAPHER Journal, 1, 1–12.Google Scholar
  55. Sibley, B. A., & Etnier, J. L. (2003). The relationship between physical activity and cognition in children: A meta-analysis. Pediatric Exercise Science, 15, 243–256.Google Scholar
  56. Sirgy, M. J. (1982). Self-concept in consumer behavior: A critical review. The Journal of Consumer Research, 9, 287–300. doi: 10.1086/208924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stathopoulou, G., Powers, M. B., Berry, A. C., Smits, J. A. J., & Otto, M. W. (2006). Exercise interventions for mental health: a quantitative and qualitative review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 13, 179–193. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2850.2006.00021.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Steptoe, A., & Butler, N. (1996). Sports participation and emotional wellbeing in adolescents. The Lancet, 347, 1789–1792. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(96)91616-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stroth, S., Kubesch, S., Dieterle, K., Ruchsow, M., Heim, R., & Kiefer, M. (2009). Physical fitness, but not acute exercise modulates event-related potential indices for executive control in healthy adolescents. Brain Research, 1269, 114–124. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.02.073.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Taylor, A. H., Cable, N. T., Faulkner, G., Hillsdon, M., Narici, M., & Van Der Bij, A. K. (2004). Physical activity and older adults: A review of health benefits and the effectiveness of interventions. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22, 703–725. doi: 10.1080/02640410410001712421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Telama, R., Yang, X., Viikari, J., Välimäki, I., Wanne, O., & Raitakari, O. (2005). Physical activity from childhood to adulthood: A 21-year tracking study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 267–273. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2004.12.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Telford, R. D., Bass, S. L., Budge, M. M., Byrne, D. G., Carlson, J. S., Coles, D., et al. (2009). The lifestyle of our kids (LOOK) project: Outline of methods. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 12, 156–163. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2007.03.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tomporowski, P. D. (2003). Effects of acute bouts of exercise on cognition. Acta Psychologica, 112, 297–324. doi: 10.1016/S0001-6918(02)00134-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tomporowski, P. D., Davis, C. L., Lambourne, K., Gregoski, M., & Tkacz, J. (2008). Task switching in overweight children: Effects of acute exercise and age. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 30, 497–511.Google Scholar
  65. Tremblay, M. S., Inman, J. W., & Willms, J. D. (2000). The relationship between physical activity, self-esteem, and academic achievement in 12-year-old children. Pediatric Exercise Science, 12, 312–323.Google Scholar
  66. Tuckman, B. W., & Hinkle, J. S. (1986). An experimental study of the physical and psychological effects of aerobic exercise on schoolchildren. Health Psychology, 5, 197–207. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.5.3.197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Twisk, J. W. R., Kemper, H. C. G., & van Mechelen, W. (2000). Tracking of activity and fitness and the relationship with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 32, 1455–1461. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200008000-00014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Science+Business Media BV 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NTNUDepartment of PsychologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations