By Brian Colgan, 19′
Can Daily Exercise Affect Performance in School?
Exercise has been a large part of people’s everyday life for generations, but recently youth and adults have been exercising less and less. “Children today take 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids did 30 years ago, according to data from 28 countries. According to a 2013 story with NPR, children’s aerobic fitness has declined by 5 percent since 1975.” Not only does lack of exercise put youth in risk of obesity, it can also negatively affect students performance in school. If this pattern continues to happen, students grades could begin to drop.
Exercise can not only affect your grades and health, but it can also lower your self esteem, or your willingness to do simple things or just being happy. Through studies from Purdue University, Naperville High School and Upper Arlington High School, it will become quite clear the importance of exercising.
Purdue University Gym use Study
In the second semester of the 2009/10 school year, Purdue University conducted a study of how the use of their gym facility could affect their students grades. They tracked how many times each student used their facility by scanning their student ID card each use. They then compared those who used their gym facility by 16+ times a month and those who used it 7+ times a month and compared the two groups grades.
Below: Graph shows Purdue students’ average GPA when compared to the average use of their gym admittance cards.
The results go as shown. The students that had exercised at least 16+ times a month had an average gpa of 3.1, trumping those who exercised at least 7+ times a month with an average gpa of 3.06. Although it may not be a huge difference, it certainly has an impact, especially when going for those higher degrees.
Going to the gym is not the only solution to get healthy exercise to increase grades. In 2012, a survey was conducted to see what exercising related activities are most popular for both girls and boys age 12-15. The survey was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consisting of surveying 394 boys and 380 girls in the United States.
Graph: National percentages of the preferred activities for males
Graph: National percentages of the preferred activities for females
In general exercise is important and figuring out everyone’s method of exercise is key to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not only can doing any of those physical activities boost your grades in school, but they can also boost up your self esteem, making you a happier person.
The Science Behind why Exercise can Increase Students’ Grades
So why exactly does exercising help with grades? It’s simple. When a persons is exercising, the amount of brain cells in the hippocampus begins to increase over time. This is significant because the hippocampus is a brain structure that is crucial for learning and memory (Society for Neuroscience). So more brain cells in the hippocampus causes people to learn better and have a larger memory, increasing their chances at succeeding in school. Also, the human brain is working more while exercising, so taking a quick jog around the street can help you while doing homework.
In 2010, Naperville Central High School in the West Side of Chicago Illinois decided to get their students active inside the classroom. The school consists of bikes and balls all throughout the classroom to keep the students’ active and involved even in classes such as reading. John Ratey of the Harvard Medical School claimed, “All their brain cells are working,” says Ratey, “And when their brain cells work, they pour out neuro transmitters, they also pour out these brain growth factors which help our brain cells knit together.” After making the decision to get the students moving, the results of the Naperville’s reading score doubled and math increased by an astonishing factor of 20.
Quick video on exercise and will power down below.
Exercise and Grades in Upper Arlington
Only a few weeks ago, 339 Upper Arlington High School students took a poll answering questions about how much exercise they get on both school and non-school days, along with answering what their gpa was for the first quarter of the 2016/17 school year. The results to the poll are shown below in a graph form.
As the data shows, for the most part the students that got anywhere between a 3.5 to above 4.0 gpa in the first quarter of the school year, got plenty of exercise on both school and non-school days. The students that got a gpa less than that for the most part exercised less, with a few outliers here and there.
It’s been known for a long time that exercise is important, but recently, people are understanding that the younger generation need to get out more. Sometimes studying for tests all day isn’t the answer. Simply setting the books down for 20 minutes and just walking can help you study better and get those grades up. Programmes such as Play 60 by NFL and Let’s Move by first lady Michele Obama have increased younger people exercising and can expect more exercise programmes in the future.