Sport in school increases classroom performance

More sport and physical exercise during school hours has a positive effect on pupils' performance in the classroom. That is the conclusion of a long-term study called the "Bunkeflo project" where children at schools in Bunkeflostrand in Malmö have sport scheduled into their daily curriculum.

"Daily physical activity gives better school performance," Malmö University lecturer Ingegerd Ericsson told Swedish Radio News.

Ingegerd Ericsson has followed over 200 children from first to ninth grade. She compared those children who have had daily physical exercise scheduled on their rota with children who have the usual physical education two times a week.

Ninety-six percent of those who had sport on a daily basis went on to upper secondary school, compared to eight-nine percent of those who participated two times a week.

It was primarily boys who benefited most with higher marks in Swedish, English and Math.

Rasmus Andersson and Elin Leander are in ninth grade at Sundsbro school in Bunkeflostrand and have had physical education every day during school hours.

"One becomes calmer during lessons," Rasmus Andersson says to Swedish Radio News.

"I can concentrate better and for longer," says Elin Leander.

The Bunkeflo project started in 1999 as a unique cooperation between secondary schools , sports associations and university researchers.

According to Ingegerd Ericsson, the project is especially important for those children who are not interested in sports clubs, where most children in Sweden participate in sport after school. 

"In school one can reach all children."