Send to

Choose Destination
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 May;48(5):839-44. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000830.

Longitudinal Relationship between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Academic Achievement.

Author information

1Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, PORTUGAL; 2Environmental Health Institute, Lisbon Medical School, University of Lisbon, PORTUGAL; 3Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies, PORTUGAL; 4Department of Sport, European University, PORTUGAL; 5Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, NORWAY; and 6MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, England, UNITED KINGDOM.



The aim of this study was to examine the prospective associations between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and academic achievement in the youth.


The sample included 1286 fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade students, age 11 to 14 yr (Mage = 11.3 ± 1.1), from 14 schools followed for 3 yr. Academic achievement was assessed using the students' marks at baseline and at follow-up 3 yr apart, in Portuguese, mathematics, foreign language (English), and science. CRF was assessed by the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run test from the Fitnessgram battery. Students were classified as fit-fit, unfit-fit, fit-unfit, and unfit-unfit according to the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run test results at baseline and follow-up. Ordinal regression analyses were performed to examine associations between CRF and academic achievement.


Being persistently fit (fit-fit), compared with those classified unfit-unfit, increased the odds of having high levels of academic achievement in Portuguese (odds ratio (OR) = 3.49; 95% CI, 1.97-6.20; P < 0.001) and foreign language (OR = 2.41; 95% CI, 1.39-4.14; P < 0.01) at follow-up. Students that improved their CRF and became fit (unfit-fit) had also higher odds of achieving better marks than those persistently unfit-unfit in Portuguese (OR = 2.52; 95% CI, 1.42-4.45; P < 0.01) and foreign language (OR = 2.13; 95% CI, 1.23-3.67; P < 0.01).


Consistently high and improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness are prospectively associated with better academic achievement especially in mother tongue and foreign language.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center