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Students Who Exercise Excel in School

Students who exercise excel in school. It's no secret. When students are physically active, they support their mental health and academic performance.

The Evidence

Some gyms are now offering student fitness programs, followed by 15 minutes of study time on their worst subject. Why? Because the brain is stimulated post exercise and learning is enhanced.

Students who meet government guidelines for exercise score higher in math and reading, compared to those who spend less time in exercise programs. A US Library of health study, found that a reduction in physical activity hindered educational performance.

The Reason

The US office of disease prevention and health promotion sets forth clear guidelines for exercise recommending the same 60 minutes or more threshold for exercise per day. But so what? Why is exercise important?

According to a Harvard Study, "Exercise also stimulates brain regions that are involved in memory function to release a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF rewires memory circuits so they work better. "When you exercise and move around, you are using more brain cells," says Dr. Ratey, who is also the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (2008). "Using more brain cells turns on genes to make more BDNF."

BDNF is not something you can get in a pill, which seems to be the new millennium's answer to everything. BDNF is only produced by the human body, and only through exercise.

The same Harvard study recommends that everyone spend at least 30 minutes per day in moderate to intense exercise. Further, if we get to, and sustain 70% of our max heart rate for a good amount of that time, it seems to produce the most BDNF benefit. It doesn't matter if we are a child, or an adult.

The only difference is what defines 70% max heart rate, which for men is calculated as 220 minus your age.

The Solution for Those not getting enough Exercise

There are other factors that impact intelligence and academic performance of course, genetics, sleep and focus are just a few. However, in people that were tested for the impact of exercise, the group shows overall improvement when they exercise over when they don't.

Similar to fast twitch muscles and sprinting, you are only going to be so fast, but there are things that you can do to be faster. You will only be so smart and academically successful, but exercise, will raise that threshold whether you are struggling or you are already brilliant.

We hope that you will join us at St. Louis Youth Performance and help your student athlete reach both their athletic and academic potential through fitness.

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