Contemporary School Psychology

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 282–292 | Cite as

The Benefits of Movement for Youth: a Whole Child Approach

  • Elena SavinaEmail author
  • Kristin Garrity
  • Patrick Kenny
  • Chad Doerr
Systematic Review


This paper synthesizes studies on the benefits of movement on youth’s health, cognition, and academic performance. It discusses behavioral and cognitive outcomes of different types of movement activities including physical activities integrated into teaching of academic content, classroom exercise breaks, afterschool exercise programs, and active recess. Empirical evidence points out that movement-based activities are low-cost and easily implemented interventions to improve youth’s physical and mental health, learning, executive functioning, memory, on-task behavior, and academic performance. School psychologists can play an active role in educating policymakers, school personnel, youth, and parents regarding the benefits of movement and create a school culture that celebrates an active lifestyle.


Movement-based activities Physical exercise Physical and mental health Cognitive functions Academic performance Children and adolescents 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The authors certify that no funding has been received for the conduct of this study and/or preparation of this manuscript. The authors do not have any interests that might be interpreted as influencing the research.


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Copyright information

© California Association of School Psychologists 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Savina
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kristin Garrity
    • 3
  • Patrick Kenny
    • 1
  • Chad Doerr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Graduate PsychologyJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA
  2. 2.Orel State UniversityOryolRussia
  3. 3.Utica CollegeUticaUSA

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