The relationship between physical activity (PA) and academic performance has been previously studied. However, there is a need to determine if the intensity of the PA performed and its predominant metabolic pathway show any degree of association with the academic achievement.
Cross-sectional data were gathered from Spanish young competitive swimmers. Academic achievement was based on individual grades for each student; the PA level was measured by means of the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents. Swimmers were classified according to the preferential energetic cost of the event in which they competed.
A total of 254 swimmers finished the study; 62.8% of them were considered moderate active. The statistical analysis showed that the higher the level of PA performed, the better the average grades achieved. This relationship was significant among the girls (P = .04). No significant differences were found regarding the influence of the kind of swimming event. However, taking part in aerobic events proved to have a significant influence on the academic achievement for girls (P = .01).
The link between academic achievement and PA depends on the intensity in which the PA is performed, as well as on its predominant metabolic pathway. However, such associations seem to be gender-dependent.