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Fact: Physical Education Boosts Learning

At a time where childhood obesity is being given some well overdue attention It has been reported that University College London (UCL) have released details of a study which indicates that students who are physically active during a lesson have improved results in tests than classmates who choose sedentary learning.

So star jumps, running on the spot or dare we say it, standing desks which boost physical movement can have a significant effect on pupil outcomes within the test environment and to a lesser degree the overall academic results for the year.

The UCL analysed forty two studies from around the world which scraped data from over twelve thousand students between three and fourteen found that integrating physical movement into classes also stimulated pupils overall movement activity levels.

“Physical activity is good for children’s health, and the biggest contributor of sedentary time in children’s lives is the seven or eight hours a day they spend in classrooms.

“Our study shows that physically active lessons are a useful addition to the curriculum. They can create a memorable learning experience, helping children to learn more effectively.” the study’s lead author Dr Emma Norris, from the UCL centre for behaviour change.

Classroom standing desk

Previously delegates at NAHT (The National Association of Head teachers) debated ‘physically active learning’ to be integrated into the curriculum and have passed a motion to encourage schools to adopt the method.

“There has long been an established body of research about the benefits of exercise on academic learning and many schools already incorporate such exercises into their lessons when they think they will benefit pupils.” Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders

One of the analysed studies found that Netherlands children who took part in three physically centred lessons a week attained significantly better results in Maths and English equating to four extra months of learning gains.

We have written before about the benefits of active classes such as those encouraged by the BBC super movers and schools that integrate standing desks into their learning spaces can help students benefit by as much as a 16% improvement in academic performance.

A study on language learning showed improved results from learners who learnt whilst riding a bicycle performed far better than students who learnt whilst sedentary. This was tested at the time and four months later and both tests had improved results for the active learners.

The International Journal of Health Promotion and Education reported students given standing desks are 12% more likely to answer questions and join in class discussions.

Source: The Independent

Schools wanting to integrate standing desks into their classrooms can “Try Before You Buy” the EIGER Student Standing Desk here.

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