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Active Kids & Learning Ability

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 7 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Exercise And Academic Performance

It comes as no surprise that kids who get regular exercise feel better than those who are sedentary. It's also commonly known that active kids have more energy during the day sleep better at night, and have fewer behavioural disorders than those who fail to get up and moving each day. These facts have been widely accepted for some time, but recent research finds that there is yet another major benefit to getting kids involved in an ongoing fitness routine -- they become better students.

Study Findings

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conducted a study to determine the effects of exercise on academic performance in school aged kids. Researches predicted that students who were enrolled in physical education classes would score better than their less active peers, believing that PE classes would help alleviate boredom and give the students the opportunity to relieve stress, allowing them to better focus on their studies. To their surprise, typical PE classes that were held five days a week and kept the students moderately active for 30 minutes each session had no effect whatsoever on their grades in science, math, world studies, and English. They further found that kids who engaged in vigorous exercise for 20 minutes at least three times weekly did show a marked improvement in grades, making the researchers conclude that traditional PE classes are insufficient in meeting the needs of students.

The above study involved 214 students. All of the kids' activity, both during and outside of school, was charted for half of a school year, breaking up time into 30 minute segments. By the end of the study, researchers found that only students who were active beyond the academic requirement, usually by participating in an extracurricular sport, got enough exercise to have a positive impact on their academic achievement. It is painfully clear that schools today are not prioritizing fitness as highly as they should be.

What Parents Can Do

Obviously, parents must take the initiative to be sure that their children are getting enough exercise. They can begin by petitioning the administrators of their children's schools to step up the activity level during the day. Kids should be allowed and encouraged to participate at a higher energy level than is currently required, which will benefit them both physically and academically. If children are already spending 30 minutes daily in PE classes, time is not the issue. The change needs to come by ramping up the intensity of their workouts.

Since there are no guarantees that individual schools will rework their PE programs to meet the higher standards, parents should encourage their kids to participate in some form of physical activity on a regular basis, outside of school hours. Joining school or community sponsored athletics is one way, and the suggestion is well received by many students. For those who are not interested in team sports, an active hobby will suffice. Running or cycling after school and on weekends is a simple way for kids to incorporate solid, academic-improving activity into their lives, but any vigorous activity, when done consistently, will make the difference.

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Latest Comments
  • ellz
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My son went through he'll at school because of his bullying pe teacher my son has a pigeon chest and shortness of breath and is currently…
    6 August 2019
  • Joel
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I’m 12 and PE in my opinion is stupid. To me, it’s an entrance ticket for bullying. My school especially needs to understand not everyone…
    8 June 2019
  • fina
    Re: Active Games for Teens
    wow interesting thanks this is my essay!@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    29 May 2019
  • Waleed
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    Im in year 9 and we have 1 double lession a week and in those lessons we are forced to do exercise. The think I hate is the treadmills…
    23 April 2019
  • EndPE
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    PE needs to not be compulsory for GCSE students, if the kids are unfit that's their problem but PE does not and will not help them,…
    26 March 2019
  • Mandz
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My son has actually harmed himself on the sole of his foot very badly to avoid PE with one particular teacher who tries to force him to…
    14 March 2019
  • Rainbow
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    I am in year 7 and I don't do pe because of my anxiety. The teachers were okay with this and told me to at least write what is going on…
    13 February 2019
  • Charlotte Marie Apri
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    In my school. I have two timetables week A and Week B. Week B there is only 2 pe lessons Tuesday and Wednesday but week A there is…
    10 November 2018
  • Michelle
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My daughter who is in year 10 has a new P.E teacher and I'm constantly receiving texts saying something from her P.E kit is missing,…
    28 September 2018
  • Stan
    Re: Compulsory PE in School
    My son has no pe at all, he has been given booster lessons for maths and when he reaches his (or their!) target he gets his pe back!!! he…
    12 September 2018