There is strong evidence to suggest that exercise can have a positive impact on students’ learning and academic performance. Regular physical activity has been linked to improved cognitive function, including better memory, attention, and executive function.
According to the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain authored by Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, physical activity can enhance cognitive function and mental health. Ratey writes that exercise is not just good for the body, but also for the brain as it can promote the growth of new brain cells, improve learning and memory, and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. It’s also been found to be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
The author uses real-life examples, such as the implementation of physical activity programs in schools and the use of exercise as a treatment for mental health disorders. He also provides practical advice on how to incorporate exercise into one’s daily routine to improve cognitive function and mental health.
Key Benefits of Exercise to Students
Exercise can help improve learning and mental health as it offers the following benefits:
- Reduces Stress – Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals in the brain. These endorphins help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, leaving students feeling more relaxed and calm.
- Improves Mood – Regular exercise increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating mood. This can help to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Boosts Self-Esteem – When students exercise regularly and see improvements in their physical fitness, it can boost their self-esteem and confidence.
- Increases Energy Levels – Exercise can increase energy levels, making it easier for students to concentrate and focus on their studies. This can also improve sleep quality, helping them feel more rested and alert during the day.
- Enhances Cognitive Function – Exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive function, including memory, attention, and learning. This can be especially beneficial for students who need to retain large amounts of information for exams and assignments.
How to Encourage Kids to Exercise
Encouraging your child to exercise can be a great way to promote their physical health, mental well-being, and overall happiness. You can do this in a number of ways, including:
- Be a good role model. Children are more likely to adopt healthy habits if they see their parents doing the same. Make exercise a regular part of your own routine and involve your child in your activities.
- Make it fun. Find physical activities that your child enjoys and make them fun. Consider activities like dancing, swimming, cycling, or playing sports. Encourage your child to try new activities to find what they enjoy.
- Set realistic goals. Help your child set realistic exercise goals that are achievable and age-appropriate. Celebrate their achievements and progress along the way.
- Make it a family affair. Plan family activities that involve physical activity, such as hiking, playing catch, or going for a bike ride. This can make exercise more enjoyable for your child and create positive family memories. You can also enroll your whole family in a family gym like American Family Fitness.
- Limit screen time. Encourage your child to take breaks from screen time and engage in physical activity instead. This can include going for a walk or playing outside.
- Give positive reinforcement. Praise your child for their efforts and achievements, rather than focusing on results. Encourage them to keep trying and to have fun while exercising.
Watch this kid-friendly workout routine: