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4 April 2008

Exercise boosts teenagers' confidence

Five-year study of adolescents

TIMID teenagers would feel less awkward if they took more exercise.

This link has been discovered in a study carried out by Gillian Burgess and colleagues from MMU and Edinburgh University. They have revealed their findings at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference today (April 3, 2008).

A five-year study revealed that teenager's physical self-worth decreased significantly between the ages of 11 to 16 for females but not for their male counterparts.

The study found that this corresponded with a drop in activity levels at this age. It was found that there was a sharp decline in physical activity for girls aged 13-15 but not for their male classmates.

School tests

These decreases may be due to increased self-consciousness during adolescence as well as increased pressures of testing and examinations in school.

MMU researcher Gillian Burgess said: Girls may be more affected because they perceive academic success as more important than excelling in sports. This may result in decreases in physical activity and physical self-worth.

"We need to develop strategies within and beyond the national curriculum that help encourage teenagers, particularly females to engage in more physical activity.

"As our findings suggest, this can have a positive impact on their physical self-worth as they will be able to excel both academically and physically."

PE and exam results

Dr Burgess, is also conducting a 10-year study into links between physical activity and educational attainment. Early results show that active 16-year-olds outperform classmates in English, maths and science tests.

For further information, contact the MMU press office on 0161 247 3406 or 07748 111322.