14th March, 2013
Students that are struggling with their schoolwork may need to check their level of physical activity and fitness.
Many studies have linked the impact of physical education to academic performance.
A recent review of 14 studies, ranging in size from as few as 50 young participants and 12,000 participants in the University of North Texas, demonstrated that the more physically active schoolchildren are, the better they do academically.
In the study, the researchers recommended that physical activities and sports must be promoted because they have positive effect on children’s physical health, emphasizing that regular participation in physical activity in childhood is associated with a decreased cardiovascular risk (a related heart problem) in youth and adulthood.
Other benefits children (and adults) can get from regular exercise regimen include improved sleep, stronger bones, reduced restlessness or hyperactivity, improved immune system function, improved moo, weight loss and increased energy level which are necessary for day to day activities in school and at home.
And significantly, the researchers suggested that physical activity has beneficial effects on several mental health outcomes including enhancement of brain function and cognition, thereby influencing academic performance.
Another study also showed that students who spend at least 1-5 hours per week in physical education have greater achievement in mathematics and reading than students who spend less than 35 minutes or less per week.
The reason, according to fitness experts, is that exercise improves the ability of different parts of the brain to work together.
According to studies, exercise encourages the brain to work effectively because it protects the brain from damage and improve the brain functions including learning.
Each type of exercise offers unique benefits for brain health and help brain to grow as one get older rather than shrink, which is often the case.
Based on animal tests, especially monkey which shared many traits with human beings, it is discovered that exercise does not only improved blood flow to the brain for effective functioning, it also enables one to learn new task twice as quickly as those that are not engaged in any exercise.
There are many exercises students can choose from sports and dance classes to gymnastics, bike riding and skipping with friends, provided they choose the ones that appeal to them and are age appropriate.
A review of more than 100 studies in the Journal of Applied Physiology revealed that aerobic exercise like running, jogging, swimming, jumping rope, rowing, cycling, etc, helps to improve one’s ability to coordinate multiple tasks ( this is applicable to students daily activities from school work to house choirs).
Also, resistant exercise, called training exercise, which often involves the use of machinery, like weight-lifting, improves one’s ability to focus amid distraction. This enables one to do daily activities such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed and carrying loads. It will also help one to stay on task for a long period without getting tired easily.