Improve Academic Performance Through Exercise

Improve Academic Performance Through Exercise

Improve Academic Performance Through Exercise

Posted on October 07, 2022

We know the physical benefits of exercise but do you know that it can help make us smarter too? 

It's early morning on your drive to work, and you may see the familiar site of sleepy, disengaged and unmotivated children and teenagers plodding their way towards
the school gates; you may even have them in the back of the car.
This isn’t the best way to start the
day and can be the same routine for
us adults as we head off to work. One
way we can counteract this is through
We all know the physical benefits
of exercise, but do you know what it
does to the brain?
I am currently rereading a book called ‘Spark – How exercise will improve the performance of your brain’. It is based on scientific research and case studies to show how exercise can help stimulate your brain. One case study from a high school
in America set up an exercise class before school to see how physical activity affected academic performance.

The results were terrific. Not
only were they ranked as one of the
fittest in the nation, but they were also 
among some of the smartest.
They didn't do too bad when they compared their results
to other students from around the
In the science section, they finished
first ahead of Singapore! The maths section finished sixth behind Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.
Without going into too much about its science, the brain is like any
other muscle; it grows with use and withers with inactivity. When we exercise, we release several chemicals and spark chain reactions in the brain to develop new cells.
Exercise provides the brain with the right tools to learn with these reactions, and the stimulation from academic classes encourages those newly developing cells to plug into the complex network of the brain, which
results in a better understanding of the subject and the ability to store information in the brain; you get smarter!

The PE teachers from the case
study said, “In our department, we
create the brain cells, and it’s up to the
other teachers to fill them.”
With all this information and much
more at our disposal, the government
and schools have decided to decrease the
amount of physical education in
favour of more study time.
We are really trying
to add more wood to the fire without
lighting it first. Instead, we
should add more PE classes and movement breaks to help stimulate the brain to learn. In one case study from the book, they took it a
step further by scheduling the student’s
most challenging subjects immediately after PE to capitalise on the beneficial effects of exercise.


As a teacher or parents,
we want to stimulate our children’s brains before they learn. Get them up
early in the morning, go for a jog
, or do a home-based workout. Maybe set them to do their homework after a
training session or do your 
exercise beforehand.
If you see the children in
your class losing concentration, get them up and move! Tell the kids
why you are doing this, and better still,
do a role reversal. Get them to watch
TV, play on the iPad or do nothing,
and do their homework.

See if they feel and notice any difference in their standard of work. You may or may not see instant results, but stick with it for a few weeks and see if you notice a change in their academic grades, mood, physical appearance and fitness levels.

If it doesn’t work, what have you lost? A bit of time, maybe, but you may have gained so much more from instilling good habits and encouraging a love of physical activity for you

and your child.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the
 Greek philosopher Plato; “For a man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately,
one for the soul and the other for the
body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.”

ARTICLE BY Gary Wallace

Gary Wallace, the founder of CORE Kids has been writing blogs for the past ten years, sharing his knowledge and wisdom on all things coaching, health, fitness and mindset. This is all part of his vision of inspiring millions of people to live happy, healthy, more fulling lives.