Multiple known health benefits arise from students participating in their recommended amount of physical activity, which is 60 minutes per day. Regular physical activity is commonly known to reduce the risk of chronic diseases while benefiting bones and muscles. It is also known to reduce stress and anxiety. While this is true, what many do not know is that physical activity also positively impacts students academic success. Many studies have shown the correlation between students who consistently and regularly participate in physical activity and how it improves their academic success over a period of time.
Physical activity is very closely linked to executive functioning, which is cognitive processes, or a group of important mental skills. These skills are enhanced and heightened when a students is regularly active. Improvements in executive function are frequently associated with acute bouts of activity and fitness as well as improvements in academic achievement. Delivery of physically active lessons [also] generally shows improvements in academic achievement (Donnelly, Hillman, Castelli, et.
al., 2016). This may include staying focused in the classroom and reducing the students stress and anxiety, which will help students to pay attention and ultimately do better on test scores. Children are not designed to sit in a classroom for eight hours a day, they are designed to play and be active. Because of this, energy build up in common when being sedentary for so long and this can cause anxiety and bad behavior. When a students has the change to release this energy, they have overall better cognitive functions, which leads to good behavior and less stress.
Physical education often gets undermined as less than other academic subjects, but many do not understand that these physical education classes have a very large impact on how well they do in other classroom settings. Classroom physical activity and physical education classes has shown to be effective at improving focus, on-task behavior, and academic achievement scores, but they continue to be a low-priority (Snyder, Dinkel, Schaffer, 2017). Not only will physical education play a part in reducing the obesity issue in this country, but it will teach students to continue an active lifestyle, which in turn can reduce stress, anxiety, and improve cognitive functions in any part of life. While we often loose the facts and numbers we learn in math and science, physical education can have an effect on someone for many years to come. Marginalization of physical education in schools and society has been an issue in the profession for a long time. Several new innovations have even arisen in the last few decades, such as curriculum models and the creation of standards, that have somewhat enhanced the value and status of physical education, but much more needs to be done to improve the status of physical education (France, Moosbrugger, Brockmeyer, 2013). The value is not obvious, so it is not taken as seriously as it should be.
Although many studies have been able to prove the connection between physical activity and student success, it still remains unclear exactly why active students perform better. Some common arguments are that it increases blood flow to the brain or that the increased oxygen flow stimulates learning. Oxygen and blood need to be transferred to the brain to increase brain function and movement helps do that. Some argue that physical activity simply burns of access energy so students are able to focus better in the classroom. They are often encouraged to stay sedentary for a majority of the school day which creates a buildup of energy ultimately decreasing their ability to focus. It is still unknown which argument is correct but one thing is clear, exercise does boost academic achievement.
Open-skill sports, where the person is in a competitive game in an environment thats consistently changing, focus is necessary for playing and competing in the sport. The player must be able to focus on relevant cues, or plays important for the game, and ignore the distracting cues, such as anything irrelevant to the game (Monsma, Perreault, Doan, 2017). Selective cues are important to the player and require lots of attention and focus, which can then be translated in the classroom. Open-skill sports are usually taught from a young age and many stay with it throughout their years in school. They learn the attention and focus from these sports and use these skills in the classroom unintentionally. In physical education, teachers often teach open-skills sports for the purpose of team building, learning leadership skills, and to teach students to be active, but it teaches much more than that. These students better develop their ability to focus and direct their attention on something more relevant, and ignore external distractions. Both this and the energy they expend help students go back into the classroom and direct their attention to the subject matter.
A four-month controlled trial took place in South-East Spain on how the amount of physical activity affects the students cognitive performance and their academic achievement based on their grades (Ardoy, Fern?ndez-Rodr?guez, Pav?n, et. al., 2013). Two randomized groups were split up and one group got two sessions of physical education a week and the other group got four sessions a week. They began this trail to prove that the intensity and frequency of P.E. sessions plays a role on students cognition and academic success. Results were assessed by a version of the IGF-M (Spanish Overall and Factorial Intelligence Test) which is a questionare that measures cognitive performance