Exercise and Academics: How Physical Activity is Key to Success

Your physical health is inextricably tied to your mental wellbeing, so it’s no wonder that taking care of your body makes your brain function better. This means an active lifestyle for your teen can translate to a better academic performance.

Sitting down at a desk all day can make teens feel lethargic, fatigued and distracted. Making sure they have enough activity in their routine is essential to them feeling good and ready to learn in and out of the classroom.

How Exercise Helps

swimming physical activity exercise

Image Credit: Artme Verbo

Physical activity has all sorts of benefits that apply directly to your teen’s academic performance. For instance, exercise can:

  • Increase the flow of oxygen to the brain
  • Release endorphins and boost mood
  • Develop parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory and reasoning
  • Produce higher levels of energy
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Raise confidence
  • Reduce stress

Research by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion shows that more exercise yields better cognitive function and higher test scores. Teens who feel better physically, and who feel better about themselves, will excel at school—and it’s not because they’re smarter or more naturally academically inclined.

The more blood flow your brain receives, the quicker you think because you’ll absorb more oxygen and nutrients. As a result, exercise can enhance your teen’s problem-solving skills and creative thinking, while keeping them in good physical health. Fewer sick days will definitely give your teen an edge in school.

On top of that, the calming effect that exercise has on the mind will alleviate some of your teen’s worries and make it easier for them to be proactive and concentrate on what’s important. Exercise can also serve as an outlet for your teen’s anxieties and negative feelings. It’s a healthier way of coping compared to other common coping mechanisms.

teen bike ride exercise

Image Credit: Abigail Keenan

Incorporating Exercise Into Your Teen’s Life

Adolescents should get 60 minutes of physical activity per day to stay healthy. There are lots of ways your teen can make time for exercise in their life. They can join a sports team—it doesn’t have to be a competitive one, just something that gets them moving. Or they can make a commitment to walking or biking to school each day instead of taking the bus.

You can suggest more active pastimes for your family to enjoy together. Game night is great, but a short weekend hike or trip to the swimming pool is fun for everyone. It’ll also encourage your kids when other people are involved and supportive of them.

If your teen is reluctant or too stressed to effectively prioritize physical activity, let them know that you’re there to encourage them. Whether they need a ride to the soccer field, help fixing up their bike or a gentle reminder to get out there and move, let them know you have their back. Soon enough your teen will be walking, running and rolling their way to academic success!

Feature Image: Morgan Sessions