The far reaching positive impact of sport and physical activity in schools and during young people’s leisure time has been clearly outlined in a consensus statement published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The statement brings together evidence following a gathering of 24 researchers from eight countries from a variety of academic disciplines looking at the effects of physical activity on children’s and youth’s fitness, health, cognitive functioning, engagement, motivation, psychological well-being and social inclusion.
It highlights that sport and physical activity not only helps improve children’s overall health, but lists a number of benefits to young people’s cognitive health and academic achievement including that physical activity before, during and after school promotes academic performance in children and that even a single session of moderate physical activity has an acute benefit to brain function.
Ali Oliver, chief executive at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “At the Youth Sport Trust we work with children and schools every day and know that sport and physical activity holds the power to have a huge positive influence on the health and wellbeing of young people.”
"We welcome research that furthers the understanding around the extent to which young people benefit from sport and activity. As this research confirms, we know that the positive impacts reach far beyond the purely physical but more generally in helping young people to be happy, healthy, succeed in life and contribute to society.”
The statement also says that mastery of basic movement boosts brain power and academic performance, and that time taken away from academic lessons in favour of physical activity has been shown not to negatively affect academic performance. It also highlighted the positive influence that physical activity has in young people’s emotional well-being and in relationships with peers, parents and coaches.
To read the consensus statement click here