Is it possible that children are learning more while exercising?  Research suggests that building exercise into lessons may improve children’s grades.

Learning More While ExercisingDutch researchers examined 500 children in second and third grade.  Half the children had traditional lessons and half were given lessons including physical activity that reinforced math and language.

The study lasted for two years.  Children who received the physically active lessons scored significantly higher in math and spelling than their peers. This was especially true for tasks requiring memorization.

“Previous research showed effects of recess and physical activity breaks,” said lead study author Marijke Mullender-Wijnsma of the University of Gronigen in The Netherlands.

“However, we think that the integration of physical activity into academic lessons will result in bigger effects on academic achievement,” Mullender-Wijnsma added.

Mullender-Wijnsma and her colleagues developed a curriculum matching typical lessons and adding physical activity.  It was tested in 12 elementary schools.

Some of the activities included children jumping in place eight times to solve the multiplication problem 2 x 4.

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