Saturday, December 3, 2016

Physical Education and Academic Achievement

The most important purpose of the school system is to increase student academic performance. Whether that is true or not doesn’t really matter. The point is, most school systems believe that and is evident by their practice. It seems as though everywhere, schools are increasing instruction time and decreasing all other areas (including  physical education). The idea in this blog is to show the possibility that physical education can help improve academic achievement.
Students need physical activity for many reasons. Health is an obvious reason but one that is rarely thought about is academic aide. Many studies show that physical activity can help improve academics in numerous ways. SPARK’s research states that “physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills, attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior1.” One of the toughest hurdles students face is the ability to concentrate. With so many children nowadays being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, this hurdle is becoming more and more of a problem. Physical activity and exercise can help.
“Charles Basch of Columbia University.
He summarized how exercise may affect executive functioning:
  • Increased oxygen flow to the brain
  • Increased brain neurotransmitters
  • “[Increased] brain-derived neurotrophins that support neuronal differentiation and survival in the developing brain.” Neurotrophins assure the survival of neurons in areas responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking1.”
Another one of SPARKS blogs references discusses “the research, led by Charles Hillman, a professor of Kinesiology and community health and the director of the Neurocognitive Kinesiology Laboratory at Illinois, suggests that physical activity may increase students’ cognitive control – or ability to pay attention – and also result in better performance on academic achievement tests2.”
Student safety and success should be the main focus in every school system. In order to aide in academic success, students need to have ample time for physical education and activity. Attention and concentration are on the rise as far as hurdles to jump through, physical activity is a terrific natural solution to increasing student ability in this area.

1(2012). How Does Physical Activity Affect Academic Performance? SPARK.

2(2009). Physical Activity May Strengthen Children's Ability To Pay Attention. Article in ScienceDaily  citing new University of Illinois study.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with this completely. I was always involved with sports when I was going through school and it really does help you focus and have more energy in the classroom. Great blog!