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Physical Fitness and Academic Success
posted by: Ruthie | September 23, 2013, 02:01 PM   

As a result of sequestration and other budget constriants, many schools are cutting various physical education programs. Unfortunately, these cuts have also coincided with a push for physical fitness in schools across the country. According to several new studies, physical exercise and fitness are inextricably linked to students’ ability to learn and retain new information.


Experts argue that fit students equate to academically successful students. A study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that 75% of 4th and 5th graders who participated in cardiovascular fitness for at least 10 minutes before an exam  scored higher than children who did not.

Similarly, a larger scale study of 12,000 Nebraska children found that better fitness was significantly linked to higher standardized test scores.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researched these correlations in greater detail. After recruiting and testing a group of 9-10 year old children on their aerobic fitness, researches selected the 24 most fit and 24 least fit students. They then used two different sessions to test participants’ ability to memorize imaginary maps. One session tested children intermittently.  The other session, held a day later, asked children to recall maps they memorized the previous day.

Results showed that overall the children performed similarly when they were asked to recall names for the maps memorized the first day, when children were tested intermittently. However, when asked to recall maps that weren’t tested intermittently, children in aerobic condition did significantly better than those in the less fit group, proving “high levels of fitness have their greatest impact in the most challenging situation,” wrote the author.

Since one hour of daily, physical activity improves learning, cutting costs by taking physical activity out of school “may not be the best way to ensure educational success among our young people,” concludes one researcher.

Does your school provide physical education to students? Do you think students who participate in physical activity are more equipped to learn?
Comment below.

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