By Ryan Coyle, MBJ Staff Writer
Want to see better grades in school? The Journal of Physical Activity and Health recently published a new study analyzing the academic benefits of exercising regularly and sleeping well. The researchers investigated the average amount of time per week that middle school students were physically active, watching television and/or videos, playing video games, or on social media, and what time they went to bed each night. This information was compared to the students’ grade point average (GPA) and academic achievement scores. The children wore an activity monitor to corroborate self-reported physical activity. Researchers also examined participants’ body fat percentage, aerobic fitness levels, and stage of puberty.
Research outcomes revealed that exercising recurrently every week correlated strongly to GPA. High amounts of screen time correlated negatively to GPA. These associations were influenced by bed time and aerobic fitness level, but not body fat percentage. In other words, too much screen time can take away from studying and sleeping which may adversely effect GPA. Although increasing physical activity may not immediately improve grades on that report card, exercise can stimulate mind and body to boost physical and mental fitness. A healthy sleep schedule can also enhance focus and engagement in school performance. This simple math could go a long way towards upgrading that report card: Exercise + Sleep = Better GPA!
Syväoja, H. J., Kankaanpää, A., Kallio, J., Hakonen, H., Kulmala, J., Hillman, C. H., … & Tammelin, T. H. (2018). The Relation of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviors, and Academic Achievement Is Mediated by Fitness and Bedtime. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 15(2), 135-143.