Kids who participate in sports and fitness programs are healthier and more academically successful. Participating in sports builds self-esteem and increases grade and test performance.
There is a growing body of research that proves that students need adequate amounts of physical activity throughout the school day. This daily activity not only prevents obesity but supports better academic performance. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that physical activity has a positive impact on cognitive skills and academic behavior.
Exercise directly impacts the behavior and development of the brain. “The effects of physical activity on cognition are particularly important in the highly plastic developing brains of youth,” according to Charles E. Basch, Teachers College at Columbia University. He states that, “exercise effects executive functioning by increasing oxygen flow to the brain and brain neurotransmitters including brain-derived neurotrophins. This family of proteins assures the survival, development and function of neurons in areas responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking, important components of improved academic performance.”
Physical activity fosters an environment of social-connectedness. When students’ teammates are also their classmates, the opportunity to learn how to play as a team, transfers to learning collaboratively in the classroom. Students who play sport together share a common set of rules. Sports set children up for a healthy adulthood, perpetuating a cycle of well-being for generations to come.
The evidence is clear. Physical activity should have a place in the curriculum of every school that’s serious about teaching its kids.