Physical Activity Can Improve Your Child’s Academic Performance

Research suggests that students who get regular physical activity perform better academically. The benefits of getting regular exercise often include memory retention, better attention, performance on standardized academic tests, enhanced reaction time, problem-solving skills, creative thinking, and much more. And this applies to college students as well.

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The academic performance of your child isn’t based only on the number of hours spent studying. Academic performance and good grades are a result of multiple factors including the child’s intellect, exercise and environment.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, exercise can improve a child’s mental abilities, health, and academic performance significantly.

Factors That Affect A Child’s Academic Performance

The effects of factors  that affects a child’s academic performance vary from person to person and even country to country! Some such elements are

  • Mental health
  • Class environment
  • Teacher support and teaching style
  • Parental support
  • Peer values
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Academic and school attachment
  • Class environment
  • Gender difference
  • Family educational background

How Does Exercise Affect Academic Performance?

According to study, children who get adequate exercise and are active every day appears to have:

  • Increased positive moods
  • Better memory retention
  • Better cardiovascular function
  • Improved fitness
  • More focused attention
  • Better metabolic function
  • Improved bone health
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Better performance on standardized academic tests
  • Immediate and long-term improvement in academic performance
  • Better reaction time and creative thinking

Effect Of Exercise On The Brain

According to a study by the University of British Columbia, regular aerobic exercise improves the functioning of the hippocampus — the area of the brain involved in learning and verbal memory. Other forms of exercise like balance exercises, muscle toning exercises, and resistance training did not have the same result on the brain.

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The effect of exercise on memory and thinking is both direct and indirect.

  • Directly effect: regular exercise gives the ability to reduce inflammation, reduce insulin resistance, and stimulate the release of growth factors. These growth factors are chemicals in the brain that affect the growth of new blood vessels, the health of brain cells, as well as the survival of new brain cells.
  • Indirectly, getting enough exercise will improve sleep quality and mood. It will also reduce stress and anxiety.

How Much Exercise Should Students Get?

Children aged between 6 and 17 should get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical aerobic activity daily and adults aged between 18 and 64 should get a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity daily.

The benefits of exercise during the school day surpasses the benefits that come from increasing class time. Additionally, the greatest intellectual benefits from physical education have been seen to come about when physical education was given either in the first half of the day or midday rather than at the end of the day.

In order to get the children moving, schools should promote steps such as recess, physical education classes, classroom breaks, after-school sports, and biking/walking to school. Physical activity should not be seen as a unessential option but as a fundamental educational concern.

Do College Students Benefit From Exercise?

The benefits of exercise in terms of academic performance also apply to college students. Physical education is not a part of most universities in the US, but an increasing number of colleges around the world are introducing it to the curriculum to make youths more active.


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