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Physical Activity

WHO reviews effect of physical activity on enhancing academic achievement at school

February 26, 2021

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The World Health Organisation for Europe has offered a definitive link between regular exercise and academic achievement. As the return to school in England approaches, according to WHO/Europe, a return to physical activity should be a central commitment for responding to the result of restrictions on children’s school experience.

The review of 5 to 17 year olds in schools across Europe, found that the trend towards sedentary activities has meant that nearly two-thirds spend the majority of their time at desks. The stress on good grades has effectively detracted from sports and physical activity.

Physical activity is essential for the development of cognitive, motor and social skills as well as being good for metabolic and musculoskeletal health. Traditional school methods can embrace more activity in class and out of class.

As Alex Harrison, a teacher and early-years coordinator at the Prague British International School in the Czech Republic added:

“…it is about more than having a place to let off steam before getting back to the serious business of learning…it is also about allowing children to behave according to their nature.”

Continuing to move away from the traditional approach of indoors for learning and outdoors for playing, WHO/Europe has outlined these key areas:

  •  Training for teachers in physical activity promotion
  • The creation of appropriate spaces, materials and resources for regular physical activity
  • Partnership and innovation alongside community organisations
  • Providing safe environments for active commuting to and from school instead of being driven or taking public transport
  • Working with not against childrens’ natural propensity towards activity

To find out more about the results, see here

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