Sports improve concentration and quality of life

A study with primary school pupils confirms the positive impact of physical fitness.


The benefits of sports on physical health are well known. A research team at the TU Munich has offered evidence on the correlation between physical fitness, concentration, and health-related quality of life among primary school pupils.

The study- involving 3285 girls and 3248 boys, suggests that school pupils who are physically fit, feel better and can concentrate better. They are more likely to make it to higher-level secondary grammar schools than children with less sporting abilities.

Scientists enrolled participants from Bavaria’s Berchtesgadener Land district. The study’s criteria were physical strength and endurance, the ability to concentrate, and health-related quality of life. Scientists determined each factor by using internationally standardized test procedures.

They found that: The higher the level of children’s physical fitness, the better they can concentrate and the higher their health-related quality of life. While the boys did better on the fitness tests, the girls performed better in terms of concentration and quality of life values.

It was also found that: obese children had significantly poorer results than underweight children. Such children tend to have considerably poorer values for health-related quality of life, on the whole, physical well-being, self-esteem, and well-being in friendships at school.

Prof. Renate Oberhofer-Fritz, a holder of the TUM Chair of Preventive Pediatrics and Dean of the TUM Department of Sport and Health Sciences, said, “Primary school pupils with good physical fitness and a good ability to concentrate are more likely to make it to secondary grammar schools. This means it’s all the more important to encourage motor development in children at an early stage since this can also positively impact the development of mental fitness. The collaboration among parents, schools, communities and athletic clubs is essential for creating a comprehensive and appropriate range of possibilities.”

Dr. Thorsten Schulz, head of the study team at TUM said“Based on the study results, since 2019, the Berchtesgadener Land District Administration Office has been giving all first-grade pupils in the region the gift of a one-year membership in a sports club. This is a great example of how different stakeholders can work together and help motivate children to be more athletically active.”

Journal Reference:

  1. K. Köble, T. Postler, R. Oberhoffer-Fritz, T. Schulz. Better Cardiopulmonary Fitness Is Associated with Improved Concentration Level and Health-Related Quality of Life in Primary School Children. J. Clin. Med., 2022, 11, 1326 – DOI: 10.3390/jcm11051326