Especially in the early years
Anybody who has watched little boys for even five seconds knows that they are exhausting. At school, they tear around the playground, bolt through corridors and ricochet off classroom walls. According to a new Finnish study, this is all helping them to be better at reading.
The study, released Nov. 30 in the Journal of Medicine and Sport, found that the more time kids in Grade 1 spent sitting and the less time they spent being physically active, the fewer gains they made in reading in the two following years. In first grade, a lot of sedentary time and no running around also had a negative impact on their ability to do math.
Among girls, sitting for a long time without moving much didn’t seem to have any effect on their ability to learn.
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland analyzed studies that measured physical activity and sedentary time of 153 kids aged six to eight. The studies used a combined heart rate and movement sensor, and researchers gave kids standardized tests in math and reading. “We found that lower levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity, higher levels of sedentary time, and particularly their combination, were related to poorer reading skills in boys,” the study says.