What is it about?

Motor skills and aerobic fitness are important for health, physically active lifestyle, social competence and general wellbeing in children. Growing number of studies have investigated do more motor competent or more fit children perform better in school but little is known are they independently associated with academic achievement. We showed that children with better motor skills at the age of 7 when they started 1st grade were better in reading and arithmetic task over three first school years. Aerobic fitness was not related to academic achievement.

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Why is it important?

Children do not reach their full potential in motor competence just growing and maturing but motor skills need to be learned and practiced during childhood via variable physical activity. Our results showed that children with better motor skills had better reading and math skills at the beginning of school and these differences perstisted over three years. Our study provide evidence that to reach their physical and academic potential children should engage in versatile and motorically challenging physical activities during early and middle childhood.


This study was my second published paper that belonged to my PhD work.

Dr. Eero Haapala
University of Jyväskylä

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Associations of Motor and Cardiovascular Performance with Academic Skills in Children, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, May 2014, Wolters Kluwer Health,
DOI: 10.1249/mss.0000000000000186.
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