- Last Updated: 25 February 2015
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Physical Activity and Academic Performance
My background as a physical education teacher has taught me that physical activity plays a vital role in promoting good health and academic success. Physical activity increases skills and confidence and reveals the pleasures of everyday life. These experiences contribute to lasting positive feelings toward being active and complement the well-known physiological benefits of physical activity such as lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, stronger bones and improved flexibility.
Students who exercise have lower body fat, greater muscular strength, and better cardiovascular and mental health. And…what about academic performance? A growing body of evidence suggests children who are more active, are better able to focus their attention, are quicker to perform simple tasks, and have better working memories and problem solving skills than less-active children. They also perform better on standardized academic tests.
Students in every grade level at schools across the country are struggling in class. It’s not because they’re underachievers, or they’re not smart, or they don’t care. It’s because we’re working against them. The longer children and teens are forced to sit and grow roots in their chairs, the harder it will be for them to bloom. With that said, we need to decrease the amount of time our student are sitting and increase opportunities for physical activity.
Research has proven that students need adequate amounts of physical activity throughout the school day—not only do they prevent obesity and obesity-related issues, but they perform better academically also. The Center for Disease Control and many universities have published research that supports the need for physical activity in the school system. How can we ignore these facts?
The CDC states, “…physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include increased levels of concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.”
Active Living Research says, “In some cases, more time in physical education leads to improved grades and standardized test scores.” Physical activity will actually help improve the students’ test scores.
I am committed to improving academic performance in the Bangor Public Schools. I strongly believe that increasing the amount of physical activity our students receive on a daily basis will play a large role in our academic success.