Intensive exercise improves intellectual performance according to new research.

A university study of about 5,000 students has found links between exercise and exam success in English, maths and science.

 In effect the an improvement in academic performance could be noted for every extra 17 minutes boys exercised, and every 12 minutes for girls (although no one quite knows why there is this sexual difference).

The study by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee found that students who carried out regular exercise, not only did better academically at 11 but also at 13 and in their exams at 16.

The starting point of the study is the fact that most teenagers get well below the recommended 60 minutes a day of activity.   So the researchers wondered what might happen if children got the recommended amount.

They claim that it is possible that students who carried out an extra 60 minutes of exercise every day could improve their GCSE academic performance by a full grade.  Although they did not research with others then also found that the grades could go up at later levels of study. 

Dr Josie Booth, one of the leaders of the study, from Dundee University said: "Physical activity is more than just important for your physical health.    There are other benefits and that is something that should be especially important to parents, policy-makers and people involved in education."

The study was funded by a grant from the BUPA Foundation to the University of Strathclyde.

The interesting point in all this is that no one can study constantly – we all need breaks.   The implication here is that the breaks could themselves aid educational levels if they are physically active.  

Unfortunately most schools are not geared up to this sort of Study/Activity/Study approach to schooling.  But it certainly could raise attainment rates if one could do this.

But even if changing the timetable is not viable, encouraging students to get out and about and exercise each day is clearly vital not only for their physical well being but also their mental well being.