There is evidence that physical and sensory activities such as sports,
music, and rhythmic metronome can enhance academic performance. I've
gathered some information for you from online sources. For reasons of
copyright, I can only post brief excerpts here; to obtain a more
in-depth understanding, you may want to read these articles in their
entirety. Several of the articles contain useful bibliographies that
can lead you to offline information in printed journals.
A 1996 Surgeon General?s report, "Physical Activity and Health," said
that, although research had not yet conclusively proven that physical
activity improves academic performance, the correlation between
activity and academic achievement is likely:
"Although research has not been conducted to conclusively demonstrate
a direct link between physical activity and improved academic
performance, such a link might be expected. Studies have found
participation in physical activity increases adolescents? self-esteem
and reduces anxiety and stress. Through its effects on mental health,
physical activity may help increase students? capacity for learning.
One study found that spending more time in physical education did not
have harmful effects on the standardized academic achievement test
scores of elementary school students; in fact, there was some evidence
that participation in a 2-year health-related physical education
program had several significant favorable effects on academic
Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children
"Following on the heels of the Surgeon General's Report on Physical
Activity and Health, this landmark review makes clear that
participation in physical activity and sport can help girls weather
the storms of adolescence and lay the foundation for a healthier adult
life. The report looks at 'the complete girl' through an
interdisciplinary approach to investigate the impact of physical
activity and sport participation.
The conclusions are striking: regular physical activity can reduce
girls' risk of many of the chronic diseases of adulthood; female
athletes do better academically and have lower school drop-out rates
than their nonathletic counterparts; and, regular physical activity
can enhance girls' mental health, reducing symptoms of stress and
depression and improving self-esteem."
University of Minnesota: Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport
"it's in areas of social and psychological development that experts
really tout the benefits of sports. 'Organized sports present a lot of
life experiences in a short time,' says Mike Mellon, Ph.D., a child
psychologist at Mayo Clinic. 'They can be very meaningful learning
experiences for kids.' Over the course of a season, he says, kids
learn about taking turns, interacting with others, performing under
pressure, following directions, accepting feedback, dealing with
defeat - all skills they'll eventually have to master as adults. Plus,
there are lessons of discipline, commitment, fairness, respect and
responsibility. Studies also show that participation in sports
improves kids' academic performance, body image and self-esteem."
"The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)
commends the California Department of Education (CDE) for its study
released today that shows a distinct relationship between academic
achievement and physical fitness of California's public school
In the study, reading and mathematics scores were matched with fitness
scores of 353,000 fifth graders, 322,000 seventh graders, and 279,000
ninth graders. Key findings of the study are:
- Higher achievement was associated with higher levels of fitness at
each of the three grade levels measured.
- The relationship between academic achievement and fitness was
greater in mathematics than in reading, particularly at higher fitness
- Students who met minimum fitness levels in three or more physical
fitness areas showed the greatest gains in academic achievement at all
three grade levels.
- Females demonstrated higher achievement than males, particularly at
higher fitness levels.
...This statewide study provides compelling evidence that the physical
well-being of students has a direct impact on their ability to achieve
academically. We now have the proof we've been looking for: students
achieve best when they are physically fit."
National Association for Sport & Physical Education
"The newly-completed analysis research study by the California
Department of Education provides concrete evidence that the student
who is physically educated and fit has the ability to achieve
A preliminary analysis conducted by the California Department of
Education (CDE) shows a significant relationship between academic
achievement and the physical fitness of California?s public school
students. Findings from the analysis provide compelling evidence that
the physical well-being of students has a direct impact on their
ability to achieve academically."
California Department of Education
"Regular physical activity improves childrens' mental health and
contributes to their growth and development. It results in increased
self-esteem and perceived physical competence which are necessary
variables that enable children to cope with mental stress. (De Marco
and Sidney, 1989). Improvements in discipline, academic performance
and self concept are benefits associated with regular physical
activity (Fishburne and Boras, 1989). Moderate to vigorous physical
activity favourably enhances skill performance in classroom functions
such as arithmetic, reading, memorization, and categorization (Keays,
Active Living Alliance
"The results of a trio of studies presented at 2001 Society for
Neuroscience conference suggest that regular exercise can improve
cognitive function and increase levels of substances in the brain
responsible for maintaining the health of neurons. In a study at Nihon
Fukushi University in Aichi, Japan, seven healthy student volunteers
jogged for thirty minutes a day, three times a week, for a period of
twelve weeks. The subjects took a series of cognitive tests at three
different times during the study period: at the start of the study, at
six weeks and at 12 weeks. Additionally, seven non-jogging subjects
took the same cognitive tests as a comparison control group. The three
tests, conducted and scored on computers, measured working memory. By
the end of the twelfth week of the study, the jogging subjects scored
nearly 30 percent higher than the sedentary subjects."
Society for Neuroscience
"There have been many studies conducted in Australia and
internationally to determine whether there is a link between physical
fitness and academic performance. These studies have all concluded
that physical activity improves mood, self-concept and tolerance to
stress, and also improves academic performance."
Neutral Bay Public School
"Using scientific methods and data analyses, [Professor Jomills]
Braddock and his team of researchers are studying how participation in
school sports can improve the academic performance and social
development of elementary to high-school aged students. Their research
has turned up some intriguing results.
'We?re finding that when you compare athletes and nonathletes from
similar social classes and academic backgrounds, student-athletes, on
average, fare better on a broad range of academic, social, and
psychological outcomes,' says Braddock. 'They?re less likely to be
involved in delinquency or other school-related behavior problems.
They?re less likely to abuse drugs, and they?re more likely to take
college prep classes and to apply and get accepted to college.'
Now, Braddock and his team are conducting research to explain why the
link between sport participation and academic success exists... One
possible answer: Taking part in sports can enhance certain qualities,
such as self-esteem, which in turn have already been proven to have an
effect on academic success."
"Do sports affect student learning? In moderation, participation is
healthy. For academically weak students, sports can make school more
attractive and reinforce the importance of being a good student.
Achievement falls off sharply, however, for students who devote more
than 20 hours weekly to extracurricular activities."
"A positive relationship of physical activity and academic performance
has been explored through several studies conducted in the USA by the
California Department of Education; Dwyer, Sallis, Blizzard, Lazarus,
& Dean (2001); Dwyer et al. (1983); Linder (1999); Linder (2002);
Shephard (1997); Tremblay et al. (2000); and others. These studies
support one another in suggesting that when a substantial amount of
school time is dedicated to physical activity, academic performance
meets and may even exceed that of students not receiving additional
physical activity (Shephard, 1997)...
[Debby] Mitchell performed a research study, 'The relationship between
rhythmic competency and academic performance in first grade children'
(1994). The findings supported a link between academic achievement and
the motor skills of maintaining a steady beat. Also motivated by
Phyllis Weikart are Kuhlman & Schweinhart, who report in their
discussions that children's timing has been found to be positively
related to children's overall school achievement, as well as
mathematics and reading achievement (1999)...
Youth receiving additional physical activity tend to show improved
attributes such as increased brain function and nourishment, higher
energy/concentration levels, changes in body build affecting self
esteem, increased self-esteem and better behavior which may all
support cognitive learning."
Sports Media: SportaPolis Newsletter
"Music educators have always believed that a child?s cognitive,
motivational, and communication skills are more highly developed when
exposed to music training. Now, study after study proves that music
instruction is essential to children?s overall education because it
improves their academic performance. The positive effects of music
education are finally being recognized by science, verifying what
music teachers have always suspected... At every age, exposure to
music training effects academic performance."
Teresa Gagne's Web Pages
"Research has identified significant relationships between timing and
rhythm and student improvements in mathematics, reading, and other
measures of overall academic achievement. Therapists, education
specialist, and physiologists refer to motor planning and sequencing
as critical aspects of normal development and an essential component
of coordination, as well as basic thinking, organizing and academic
Research has shown that when children... go through Interactive
Metronome training they improve in a wide variety of areas including:
-Focus & Attention
-Reading and Math Fluency
-Mental Processing Speed
-Overall Academic Performance"
"Interactive Metronome (IM) program is a personal computer-based
training technology designed to improve the processing skills vital to
motor planning, sequencing and attention. The IM combines the
principles of the traditional music metronome with computer
technology. Hand and foot sensors relay information about the user's
performance to the computer during training. Headphones provide
immediate computer generated auditory feedback to the user on
Gains that have been noted with use of this program include improved
attention and mental clarity, improved motor sequencing and planning,
smoother gait, improve academic performance, improved language skills,
rapid acquisition of new athletic skills and decreased anxiety."
This were the Google search strings that gave me the best results:
Google Web Search: "academic performance" enhanced activities
Google Web Search: "academic performance" sports
Google Web Search: "academic performance" sensory
I hope this is helpful. If anything is unclear, or if a link doesn't
work for you, please request clarification; I'll be glad to offer
further assistance before you rate my answer.