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Motor Skills and Executive Function

Motor Skills and Executive Function

Mental Health and Physical Activity published research on the relationships between physical activity, aerobic fitness, and motor skills to executive functions and academic achievement in 697, ten year old children.

The results indicated the following:

  • no relationships were observed between moderate to vigorous physical activity and executive functions or academic performance.
  • sedentary time was related to executive functions and academic performance in English in boys.
  • aerobic fitness was associated with executive functions and academic performance in boys only.
  • motor skills were associated with most measures of executive functions in both girls and boys and academic performance in girls.

The researchers concluded that the strongest independent associations were observed for motor skills to executive functions. Sex-specific associations were observed for aerobic fitness and motor skills. Programs that increase both aerobic fitness and motor skills may positively affect executive functions and academic performance.

Reference: Aadland, K. N., Moe, V. F., Aadland, E., Anderssen, S. A., Resaland, G. K., & Ommundsen, Y. (2017). Relationships between physical activity, sedentary time, aerobic fitness, motor skills and executive function and academic performance in children. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 12, 10-18.


Need activities that include aerobic fitness and motor skills?  Check out 25 Bilateral Coordination Exercises.