Can Physical Activity Improve Academic Performance for Students?

Parents, teachers and medical professionals have always stressed the importance of children going outdoors to play instead of sitting in front of a TV or computer screen. Physically active kids are less likely to be obese later in life, after all. Enough exercise also ensures that they sleep better at night and wake up fresh the next day.

There’s one more reason to make sure that your child gets enough physical activity, though. Research shows that exercise helps kids learn better, by boosting their focus and concentration as well as cognitive function and memory. If you want your kids to perform better in school, the key might just lie in making them move around more!

What Does the Research Say about Exercise and Learning?

Here’s what science has to say about the link between physical exercise and academic performance:

  • According to the CDC, physically active kids have better cognitive skills, attitudes and academic behavior, including enhanced attention and concentration.
  • According to Active Living Research, students show improvements in grades as well as standardized test scores with an increase in Physical Education time.
  • According to Columbia University’s Charles Basch, exercise has a direct effect on the development and behavior of the brain, especially at a young age.

There’s a lot more research backing up this connection, so there really isn’t any doubt that kids do need to go out and play or participate in extracurricular activates that get them moving. Exercise positively effects a child’s mental health and academic achievement.

Impact of Physical Activity on Academic Success

In a 2010 essay, Charles Basch says that exercise has a multi-part impact on executive functioning and brain development. It leads to an increase in oxygen flow to brain cells, as well as an increase in brain neurotransmitters.

He also states that exercise boosts neurotrophins, which help neurons survive in areas of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking. According to him, physically active kids may be less prone to skipping school or dropping out.

Exercise could also help children be more socially involved by making them feel connected to others around them. Unfortunately, too many schools prefer increasing classroom time by cutting back on Phys Ed.

How Can You Help Kids Become More Active?

Get in touch with school authorities to check how often they schedule Physical Education and fitness activities. If they’re cutting back on PE, discuss the effect this could have on children’s grades and performance. Even if they refuse to make changes, you can still help your kid do better in school by making sure they get enough exercise at home.

Easy Ways to Help Improve Your Kid’s Brain Functions With Physical Activity:

  • Encourage them to take breaks while studying, reading, taking an online-tutoring course or watching TV, and walk around or stretch their legs every hour or so.
  • Set aside a specific time period where they go outside, whether for a walk, jog or catching a quick game of ball with their friends.
  • Work with other parents to plan group activities or team sports for younger children, to ensure that they get regular exercise without feeling forced.
  • Consider getting a pet at home, especially if you have slightly older children. Running around the yard with the family dog won’t feel like PE!
  • Plan family outings and activities such as hiking, camping or outdoor games, to get everyone involved in physical fitness together.
  • Set a good example by exercising every day. Kids learn by watching, so if they see you making an effort to stay physically fit, they will do it too.

Besides getting your kid physically active to perform better academically, make sure they also set a good routine of when they eat their healthy meals, study, play, watch TV and sleep. When they need more help with school, we’ve got you covered. To learn more about different techniques to improve academic performance and enhance learning skills, or find an online tutor to help your child with test preparation and classroom success, visit today!

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