A new study in the Netherlands on learning and exercise is shoring up belief among Canadian experts that being more active might result in better grades.

"Children were jumping on the spot."   - Jennifer Yessis 

"We know some students do not learn as well when they are seated all day at their desk, so they may actually be learn better if they are being physically active," said Jennifer Yessis in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.  

According to Yessis, with the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo, there are a number of tests and studies that establish a clear link between learning and exercise. This study is different, she said, in that it tested learning during exercise.  

"Children were jumping on the spot to solve two times four," she said.  "It increases brain activity and sharpens the ability to focus."

Schools require hard data

Snow angel

Canadian study now under way to establish benefits of early morning physical activity for young children. (Clay Jackson/The Advocate Messenger/Associated Press)

Yessis suggested that the work in the Netherlands reinforces a study being conducted here in Canada. With the help of Reebok, Yessis hopes to show the benefits of early morning exercise and a student's ability to learn for the remainder of the day. Schools need hard data, she said, before they make changes.

"We've heard anecdotally that there has been great reception. Children love the program and parents are very much enjoying it as well."

The Reebok sponsored study will collect data over a five year period, and Yessis said that any school interested in participating can sign up on-line.