If you thought your kid was spending too much time going to horse competitions and not enough on their school work, think again. Research from Spain has found that playing competitive sports improves the academic performance in young people.
The topic was the thesis of Ana Capdevila Seder, an assistant professor in the Department of Education at the Universitat Jaume I.
Her findings showed that female students studying in private schools or state-subsided schools who play sports, and with parents with higher education and practice sport, had improved academic performance.
It also revealed that athletic students have better study habits and spend less time on sedentary leisure activities than non-athlete students.
The sedentary lifestyle is affecting increasing numbers of children and young people, which can lead to cardiorespiratory ailments and diseases specific to adulthood. In the adolescence, specifically among secondary education students, sports abandonment occurs massively and the main cause is focused on the lack of time to combine sport and studies.
Other remarkable results from the study have been the positive influence that having sporting parents has on children’s academic performance, and also in their own sporting endeavours. The study found that if parents practice sport, almost 86 per cent of children do, too.
Young athletes scored higher on the test on study habits; especially in areas such as attitude and time schedule to study (they are more motivated to study and the reasons why they do it are more clear to them). This suggests the importance of arranging the free time, and how profitable it is to invest time in active leisure instead of sedentary leisure activities, thus showing that sport at competition level improves performance and does not interfere with studies during adolescence.
The study involved 313 adolescents in the second cycle of compulsory secondary education in Castellón de la Plana, 124 of whom were athletes (with a minimum commitment of 10 hours of sport per week) and 189 were non-athletes.