More Physical Education Time – Better Academic Performance

Researchers followed 220 students in a Swedish Compulsory school for nine years. They studied two groups of students: one that had daily physical education classes (45 minutes x 5 days / week) , and the control group that had only 2 physical education classes per week. The students’ motor skills were tested in their first year, second year, and 9th year of the study. To gauge academic performance, the students’ grades in math, English, Swedish, and PE were studied, as well as the proportion of students that qualified for upper secondary school.


  • Proportion of students that moved on to upper secondary school was 8% higher in the group with daily P.E. than the control group
  • Students that had daily P.E. had better academic performance than the control group
  • Motor skill deficit was present in only 7% of the students with daily P.E., compared to 47% of students with P.E. twice per week.
    • Daily P.E. improved development of motor skills
    • No improvement in motor skills in the control group – suggests the school’s two lessons of PE per week are not sufficient in fixing motor skill deficits.
      • Aligns with studies that show that students with motor skill deficits will have them for years if there is no intervention

Cutting P.E.: More Harm Than Good

School districts are cutting back on time and money allotted to physical education as a way to try to better prepare students for standardized tests. As these results show, cutting back physical education is not the answer. Children are able to learn and focus better when they have sufficient time to exert their energy.