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Does physical activity really affect school performance?

  • 24 February 2023

We have often heard from education experts that children who are physically active are more likely to perform better in academics. But do you know how it works.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physically active students typically perform better in terms of grades, attendance, memory, and classroom behaviour. Students who engage in more physical activity and are more physically fit have better cognitive performance such as focus and memory.

A few interesting facts:

  • The research by NIH (National Library of Medicine) indicates that the academic subjects that are most influenced by physical activity are reading and mathematics. Executive function, which has been connected to physical exercise and physical health, is essential to these topics.
  • The foundation of academic performance is executive function and brain health. Learning is facilitated by basic cognitive processes such as attention, memory, and processing speed, all of which are improved by exercise and increased cardiovascular fitness.
  • Physical activity both in short sessions and over time enhances mental function and brain health, especially from vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity.

Physical activity as a break from academic study has been found to be more beneficial for improving on-task behaviours, better focus, and improved academic success. Students should be given frequent, developmentally appropriate breaks for physical activity given the significance of proper time that effects learning.

Beyond better marks, exercise has other advantages. Physical exercise has direct connection with absenteeism, drop-out rates, and social connectedness as it not only impacts brain but also health. According to Columbia University’s Charles Basch, it is likely that the effects of physical activity on cognition would be especially important in the highly plastic developing brains of youth, which means changes in neural connections during development.

Best International School in India with Physical Activity Opportunities

This indicates that children who engage in physical activity have an effect on their executive functioning. Additionally, it causes the brain to receive more oxygen and produces more neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers that the body needs to operate. Most importantly, the neurotrophins ensure that neurons in the parts of the brain that control learning, memory, and higher reasoning flourish.

While the link between physical activity and school performance is quite technical but is inevitable and practical. When the children are happy and healthy, they are more likely to focus and engage in learning as a result they are performing well in academics.

As one of the top international schools in India, Oakridge places a strong emphasis on striking a balance between sports and academics, giving students the chance to excel academically while also honing their abilities in a variety of sports. A wide range of sporting facilities are available on Oakridge campuses ranging from skating rinks to rock-climbing wall, allowing students to train and excel in the game of their choice guided by expert coaches. These educational opportunities will improve academic achievement and learning abilities far beyond the PE classroom, in addition to encouraging a healthier lifestyle.

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