Get Them Moving

August 26, 2008

By Rochelle Davis, Founding Executive Director

As principals and teachers are mapping out their plans for the coming school year, we want to call their attention to a new study that documents the impact of daily physical exercise on students’ ability to learn. The issue of exercise is not just about health and wellness but also about academic performance, according to James Pivarnik, president-elect of the American College of Sport Medicine and a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University. 

“It’s not only Johnny’s getting fat, and heart disease down the road — all that’s true. But it’s also that he might not do as well in school,” said Mr. Pivarnik, about his study, the most recent study linking physical activity with academic performance, which found that students who were the most fit scored 30 percent better than students who were least fit.   

Experts speculate that there might be a variety of reasons for this, including: burning off pent-up energy and allowing kids to pay attention better and focus on their work; boosting self-esteem and mood; and increasing blood flow to the brain, helping with memory and concentration.

I certainly know how much better I feel and how much better I can concentrate after a rigorous game of tennis or a yoga workout.  It is not surprising that the same applies to students.

For more information, read this article from MSNBC.