Physical Activity Improves Academic Performance
Monday, April 1, 2019
We all want the best for our kids. We all hear that regular physical activity is an important part of being healthy. Yet we know that physical activity declines with age. Time and time again I hear that high school kids stop their regular sports to focus on getting good grades. But did you know physical activity actually improves academic performance?
There are now many well-researched studies that prove beneficial effects of physical activity on:
- brain power
- motivation and concentration
- memory and reasoning
- classroom attitudes and behaviors
- language skills
which all leads to improved academic performance, social skills, and self-esteem.
Evidence shows that physically active kids have brain synapses that fire faster and stronger, and are 20% more likely to earn an A in math or English than inactive kids!
How does physical activity impact the brain?
Physical activity has a direct impact on the behaviour and development of the brain. During physical activity:
- The flow of oxygen to the brain is increased
- The number of brain neurotransmitters is increased, which assists your ability to focus, concentrate, learn, remember and handle stress
- The number of brain-derived neurotrophins is increased, which assures the survival of neurons in areas of the brain that are responsible for learning, memory and higher thinking
What do we mean by physically active kids?
The recommended physical activity for children is at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous every day. In NSW we know only about a quarter of 5-15-year-old kids do this.
At Physio Inq Engadine, we recommend building active play habits from an early age: dancing, digging, building, jumping. The aim is to make living an active lifestyle, where you sit less and move more, the norm.
Then get your school-aged children into organized sport, exercise at school, walking or riding to and from school, and active play like dancing, swimming, skipping, climbing, jumping, running.
Find tips about starting your children in sport in our article Children and Sports | When Is Too Young To Start?
While your children are setting themselves up for life, including their best efforts in academic achievement, make sure they know that time away from books in favour of sport does not come at the cost of good grades. In fact, quite the opposite.