Researchers analysed the influence of regular, official physical-sports activity on the academic results of university students.

"Although there are previous studies that have indicated that taking part in sports activities has negative effects on academic performance, the most commonly accepted belief is that the impact of sports is far from being negative and is, in fact, remarkably positive," said Maria Jose Sanchez Bueno from Charles III University of Madrid (UC3M) in Spain.

Researchers selected a sample of 3,671 students who started undergraduate degree programmes beginning in 2008 and finished their degrees before 2015.

"Our final results show that participation in regular, official physical-sports activity positively affects the academic performance of UC3M students," researchers said.

Specifically, those students who participated in sporting activities earned grade point averages that were 9.3 percent higher than those of students who completed their undergraduate degrees but did not take part in any sporting activities, they said.

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