Raise your hand if you’ve ever wondered about the secret sauce behind enhanced academic outcomes for students 🙋♀️. Well it turns out that the answer might be right in front of us – and it’s as simple as increased physical activity. Today we’re talking about how physical activity and academic success intersect, and this topic is heavily backed by research – the CDC provides substantial evidence that physical activity can improve academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.
Why is this important? Because when we collectively support active lifestyles then schools, libraries and other community organizations can continue to provide additional resources and opportunities for physical activity.
ALSO – quick shout out to the White House for acknowledging the importance of Physical Fitness and Sports. Thank you for the validation, Mr. President!
- Physical Activity & Academic Performance
Ok, let’s get down to business. What is the direct link between physical activity and academic outcomes? This CDC study studied the relationship between different types of physical activity and how it impacts performance. The research reports that “participating in physical activity was positively related to outcomes including academic achievement, academic behaviors, and indicators of cognitive skills and attitudes, such as concentration, memory, self-esteem, and verbal skills.” According to the World Health Organization in this article, “increasing the amount of physical activity can have a positive impact not only on children’s health and well-being, but also on their performance in the classroom.”
- How Physical Activity Boosts Brain Power – Physical activity stimulates the release of hormones that promote brain cell growth, which leads to improved memory formation and retention. So the next time you want students to get super focused and pay attention, have them do some jumping jacks or sprints right before they get back to class 🏃♂️.
- Physical Activity & Cognitive Skills – Physically challenging activities not only strengthen muscles and motor skills, but they also enhance brain function, which helps students excel in problem-solving, critical thinking and even impulse control. Think about this – a game of tug-of-war is exciting and physically taxing, but it also teaches kids strategy, performing under pressure and working as a team!
- Physical Activity, Mood & Mental Health – When you engage in exercise your brain releases endorphins, which reduce stress and enhance your mood. When we encourage students to incorporate physical activity into their routine this helps them combat anxiety and depression, while promoting mental wellness as well as healthy coping strategies. Maybe Taylor Swift was onto something when she told us to “Shake it off!” 💃
- Promoting Physical Activity in Schools – Now that we’re all on the same page and understand that encouraging physical activity will directly impact the academic success of students – how do we support this initiative?! Here’s a few ideas to consider:
- Allow students to have freedom of choice when selecting which sports and activities they will learn and take part in. When kids have ownership over their learning they are more likely to remain attentive and retain what they learn.
- Implement a well-rounded, standards-based physical education curriculum that focuses on skill development.
- Utilize technology to meet kids where they’re at with engaging, short-form videos that are easy to follow and encourage kids to practice the skills in their own time.
- Don’t save physical activity for P.E. classes only! Incorporate short, energizing activity breaks during class with Brain Breaks, yoga poses, mindfulness exercises or some plain old jumping jacks.
- Consider creating movement-friendly classrooms that allow students to wiggle and fidget while they learn – who said that we learn best when sitting in a chair (says our copywriter as this blog is written while sitting on the floor surrounded by kids and dogs 😉).
- The Role of Community – We’re all in this together. Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a fellow entrepreneur – we are all responsible for making the world and future a better place for ourselves and today’s youth!
Whew! That was a good amount of information, if you got through that, thanks for sticking with us. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us 😊