Active children means active minds

Recent research which found that children learn better when they are physically active supports how the Youth Sport Trust encourages teachers to incorporate exercise and movement into daily lessons.

A study by the University of Copenhagen found that students using crawling, hopscotching, skipping, throwing and balancing on one leg to learn mathematical concepts performed better in tests six weeks later than students who were taught using conventional methods.

This study backs up the recently launched CLASS PAL - a physically active learning project where teachers are being encouraged to integrate movement into the teaching of normal lessons. It is hoped that this would enhance children’s engagement and enjoyment of learning, help make the school day less sedentary and have a positive impact on achievement in the longer term.

Chris Wright, Head of Wellbeing for the Youth Sport Trust, said:

We are at a critical point for children’s wellbeing and at the Youth Sport Trust we have been championing the use of PE, sport and physical activity to improve wellbeing and achievement. We have lots of evidence demonstrating that physical activity can have positive benefits for schools and children and this type of research really reinforces what we are trying to achieve.

As part of its work to encourage activity amongst inactive children, the Youth Sport Trust has aimed to inspire and support primary age girls to exercise. National data shows that physical activity starts to decrease in children as young as 8 years old and that there is a greater average decline amongst girls compared to boys.

Youth Sport Trust initiatives, such as Girls Active, which is funded by Sport England and run in partnership with Women in Sport and This Girl Can, aim to get more young girls fit and active as well as have a greater sense of wellbeing through participation in school sport and PE.

The Youth Sport Trust delivered a national action based research project which looked at how to address the decline in physical activity of girls aged from 8 years old. With funding from Public Health England, the findings look at the positive approach many schools took and how schools can provide solutions to the inactivity of primary age girls and how to remove the barriers they may have to overcome.

Chris Wright added:

If we are to have a lasting impact on children’s wellbeing and quality of life then we need to address inactivity at an early age.  In this case, we took a fresh approach to engaging younger girls in healthy and active lifestyles and supported them to make positive changes to their activity habits. If we build a foundation of movement and address inactivity head on, as these schools have demonstrated, we can have a positive impact on both wellbeing and children’s engagement in learning.

The findings are available here on the right hand side of this page.

There’s more information about Girls Active here.

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