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Exercise your grades
With the HSC (and other school, tafe and university end of year exams) fast approaching, students and parents should be aware of study habits! While it is important to study, a UK study (published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine) has found that there may be other factors that can help boost your grades! The study found that teenagers who do intensive exercise improve their grades in exams.
Experts at the University of Strathclyde and Dundee studied almost 5000 children and found that boys who exercised for an extra 17 minutes a day improved their academic performance by a quarter of a grade, whereas girls only needed 12 minutes extra to increase their academic score.
Most of the teenagers reported exercise levels that were well below the recommended 60 minutes a day, and the authors speculated that they could go up a whole grade if they did an hour a day.
On average, every 15 minutes of exercise correlated to a quarter of a grade improvement, so the authors said it's possible that doing 60 minutes a day would bump them up from a C to a B or a B to an A.
"Physical activity is more than just important for your physical health," study leader Dr Josie Booth, from Dundee University states. "There are other benefits and that is something that should be especially important to parents, policy-makers and people involved in education."
There are a few possibilities about how exercise improves mental performance.
One theory is that it increases blood flow to the brain. Another is that it increases neuroplasticity — it increases the ability of neurons in the brain to adapt and form new connections and take on new tasks. There are also psychological theories that it helps relieve stress and makes kids more relaxed.
Exercise is just one healthy habit that improves students' grades.
Studies have looked at kids who do well and who do poorly, and consistently find that the kids who do well do more exercise have a better diet and get better sleep.
Some studies have found that people are much more alert immediately following exercise, which might make morning exercise more beneficial. Exercise can increase your arousal levels and increase the ability to pay attention to relevant information.
However, it was also found that doing more than 60 minutes will not have additional effects. Sixty minutes is the maximum needed — after that studies haven’t identified better performance. Short bouts of exercise (adding up to 60 minutes across the day) might also be beneficial.
So while you or your kids are frantically studying for their upcoming exams, remind them that it may be of benefit to them to take some time out to get active for up to an hour a day, eat well and ensure they are getting adequate rest and quality sleep at night! It will help them re-focus and study more effectively with their time!