Students all over the world, of all ages, all grade levels, struggle with their academics at some point in their life. This can be attributed to a myriad of different reasons. Reasons ranging from high levels of stress, to poor time management, to simply an inability to focus or retain information. Though it may seem too simple to be true, sufficient physical exercise can aid in relieving most, if not all of these ailments, to some degree.
A 2013 study from Purdue University found that students who exercised regularly at the school fitness center achieved, on average, a higher GPA than their less physically active counterparts. Purdue students and staff are not surprised by the positive correlation between exercise and academics. One Purdue staff member believes that being physically active allows students more alert in and out of the classroom and builds their confidence. Students report influential factors derived from exercise such as better time management skills and stress relief, among others.
The full report can be found here: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q2/college-students-working-out-at-campus-gyms-get-better-grades.html
Physical activity has been found to not only aid in improving the academics of college students, but the academics of students in all age groups. A Medical College of Georgia study, involving overweight children between the ages of 7 and 11, found that after 13 weeks of increased physical activity the children showed improvement in overall mental function. The study involved 171 overweight students, 111 of them being placed in an exercise program and 60 remaining inactive. The exercise program involved an after school session in which the students were active for a minimum of 20 minutes. At the end of the 13 weeks, the exercise group performed better than the control group on standardized tests, as well as mental health tasks involving planning, organizing and strategizing.
For today’s college student, stress is virtually unavoidable. In fact, a 2008 survey of college students found that 80 percent of surveyed students say that they frequently or sometimes experience daily stress, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Stress plays a key role in deteriorating a student’s academic success. A University of Minnesota study found that students who reported having no significant stress had an average GPA of 3.3, as opposed to highly stressed students’ (eight or more sources of stress) 2.72 average GPA.
According to the American Psychological Association website, 32 percent of adults and 30 percent of teens report feeling less stressed after they exercise. Physical exercise can serve as great stress relief for college students. It takes your mind off of grades, helps you think more clearly and feel better about yourself. Working out is no longer simply to improve physical health, but mental health as well.
In fact, studies show that exercise increases brain function, helps repair damaged brain cells, improves memory, stimulates focus and concentration, and actual aids in building neurotransmitters in the brain.
Regular exercise has also been shown to help reduce fatigue. Less fatigue means more productive school work, more energy to allocate towards studying and better opportunities to participate well in the classroom.
“Exercise for Stress and Anxiety.” <i>Anxiety and Depression Association of America</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.
Davis, Catherine L. et al. “Exercise Improves Executive Function and Achievement and Alters Brain Activation in Overweight Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association 30.1 (2011): 91–98. PMC. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.
Neubert, Amy Patterson. “College Students Working out at Campus Gyms Get Better Grades.” N.p., 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2015.
Weir, Kristen. “The Exercise Effect.” <i>American Psychological Association</i>. N.p., Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.