It’s time for back-to-school again. Time to adjust to the new routines of waking up early, packing lunches and doing homework. Want to know what you can do to help your children do better in school this fall? Get them active. Growing research has linked physical activity with better academic performance.
Experts believe that exercise may boost academic performance in many ways, including: burning of pent-up energy and allowing kids to have a better attention span to focus on their work, boosting self esteem and mood, and helping with memory recall and concentration.
Evidence mounts showing a link between fitness and academics
The California Department of Education (CDE) looked for a correlation between fitness scores and test scores. They found that kids who were fit (by a standard test of aerobic capacity, BMI, abdominal strength, trunk strength, upper body strength and overall flexibility) scored twice as well on academic tests as those that were unfit.
In the second year of the study, socio-economic status was taken into account, to possibly eliminate that variable as an explanation. As expected, those in the upper-income brackets scored better overall on the academic tests, but within the lower-income set of students, the same results were observed — kids who were more fit performed better academically.
Results suggest the exercise itself doesn’t make you smarter, but it puts the brain of the learners in the optimal position for them to learn.
Many Schools Have Reduced or Eliminated Gym Classes and Recesses
So should you turn to team sports if your child’s school is lacking in PE and recess? Not necessarily so. While some sports can definitely help kids to shape up, regular free play – at the playground or your backyard – may work just as well, or even better.
The key is to find something active your kids enjoy doing that gets them off the couch and on the go.