Sedentary Lifestyle Could Impair Academic Performance in Boys

Physical inactivity has been linked to a number of health problems and conditions. That’s why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set physical activity guidelines for all Americans over the age of 6. Exercise and physical activity are absolutely necessary to maintain good health. The less active you are, and the longer you go without physical activity, the worse the effects on your body. Most people know that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for physical health, but a recent study suggests that a sedentary lifestyle could also impair academic performance.

Study shows link between sedentary lifestyle and poor academic performance in boys

The study examined the association between physical activity and sedentary time with reading and math skills in 153 school children between the ages of 6 and 8 years of age. While the data didn’t show strong connections between physical activity and academic performance in girls, boys who were more active and less sedentary performed better in reading and math than boys who were less active.

The findings suggest that increased physical activity could help improve the development of academic skills in boys.

The health benefits of physical activity

While you can’t take the results of a single study as proof that physical activity improves academic skills, you can view the results as further emphasis of the importance of physical activity.

The benefits of physical activity are well documented.

  • Regular exercise and physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Studies show that regular physical activity decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Physical activity decreases your risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  • Physically active people have a lower risk of colon cancer and breast cancer than less active people.
  • Exercise and physical activity strengthen bones and muscles.
  • Staying active can improve your mood and mental health.
  • Regular physical activity improves overall health, and increases your chances of living longer.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services physical activity guidelines


According to the HHS, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Most of this time should be moderate intensity aerobic activity such as walking, running, organized sports, and biking. The guidelines also recommend children get vigorous-intensity aerobic, bone strengthening, and muscle strengthening activities three times a week.


The HHS recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Adults should also include muscle and bone strengthening exercise at least two times each week.

Every little bit of physical activity helps. Try to be physically active for at least 10 minutes at a time.