The effect of an acute bout of physical activity on academic performance in school-based settings is under researched. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between a single, vigorous (70–85%) bout of physical activity completed during physical education on standardized mathematics test performance among 72, eighth grade students at a school in the Southwestern United States. Students received both a physical activity and nonactive condition, in a repeated measures design. Academic performance measures were collected at 30 and 45-minutes post condition. It was hypothesized that students would have greater gains in mathematics test scores post physical activity condition compared with post nonactive condition. Results reported students achieved 11–22% higher math scores at 30 minutes post physical activity condition compared with other time points (45 minutes post PA, 30 and 45 minutes post sedentary) (F(1, 68) = 14.42, p < .001, d = .90). Findings suggest that physical activity may facilitate academic performance in math.
Phillips is with the Physical Education and Human Performance Dept. at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT. Hannon is with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Castelli is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.