• We compared physical fitness factors between sport and non-sport groups of elementary school children in all grades. The subjects of this study were 1,079 1st- to 6th-grade male elementary school children. Their parents completed a questionnaire examining whether the child attended sports lessons as a regular after-school activity. Physical fitness was evaluated by a new physical fitness test recommended by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (4). The test consists of the following items: 1) Grip strength (kg); 2) Sit-ups (number completed in 30 sec); 4) Sitting front stretches (cm); 5) Side steps (number completed in 20 sec); 6) 20-m shuttle run (number of repetitions); 7) 50-m run (sec); 8) Standing long jump (m); 9) Softball throw (m); 10) Height (m); and 11) weight (kg).
  • Point of application 1: In regards to the sit-ups, 20-m shuttle run, and softball throw, children who attend sports lessons after school showed a better performance compared to children who do not attend sport lessons, especially after the 3rd grade.
  • Point of application 2: Performance in physical fitness that requires complex movements, such as the side steps and 50-m run, were susceptible to sports lessons.
  • Point of application 3: Flexibility and performance in physical fitness that require simple movement, such as the grip strength and standing long jump, were not affected significantly by sport lessons during elementary school ages.