The effect of exercise on cognitive and academic performance: A review and prospect

Chun Hao Wang, Che Chien Chang, Yen Ming Liang, Wen Sheng Chiu, Lan Hung, Ovid J.L. Tzeng, Chi Hung Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An increasing number of studies have suggested that exercise is associated with improvements in cognitive and brain functioning, and this facilitating effect is also evident from observing cognitive and academic performance in children. However, with the advance and prevalence of science and technology in today's culture, children have become increasingly sedentary. Importantly, sedentary habits during childhood not only influences physical health but also cognitive and academic performance. Based on these findings, we review and discuss the associations between physical activity and exercise, as well as their effects on children's academic performance. We also review studies in the field of cognitive neuroscience to discuss the underlying neural mechanisms of the positive effects of physical exercise. We hope by doing so that this review would draw more attention to this topic from the fields of education and physical education and would generate ideas for future research. It is also our wish that this knowledge would provide practical benefits to the fields of education, physical education, and public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-94
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Research in Education Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Academic performance
  • Aerobic fitness
  • Children
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Physical activity


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