What Helps Grades? Surprisingly, Phys Ed

Can phys ed make our kids smarter?  Some say yes.

According to smartplanet.com, "Researchers at the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee found an increase in performance for every 17 minutes boys exercised, and 12 minutes for girls,” the BBC reported, noting that,”children who carried out regular exercise not only did better academically at 11 but also at 13 and in their exams at 16, the study suggested.”

“Physical activity is more than just important for your physical health," smartplanet.com quotes Dr. Josie Booth, a co-leader of the study. "There are other benefits and that is something that should be especially important to parents, policy-makers and people involved in education.”

Gretchen Reynolds at the NYT agrees, reporting that "Children who are physically fit absorb and retain new information more effectively than children who are out of shape, a new study finds, raising timely questions about the wisdom of slashing physical education programs at schools."

Reynolds notes that parents and exercise scientists have known for some time that physical activity helps "young people to settle and pay attention in school or at home, with salutary effects on academic performance." A recent study even found that fourth- and fifth-grade students "who ran around and otherwise exercised vigorously for at least 10 minutes before a math test scored higher than children who had sat quietly before the exam."

So does this mean our kids (particularly, teens) should run a marathon before every math test?  Of course not.  But it would help if they had gym more than twice a week (my son's middle school), though I'm grateful at least he has some, not like other schools who have cut it out altogether (go figure).


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