How Fitness Influences Learning

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  • 0:04 Fitness & Learning
  • 0:38 The Studies
  • 2:09 Why It Works
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Monica Gragg

Monica has taught college-level courses in Tourism, HR and Adult Education. She has a Master's in Education and is three years into a PhD.

This lesson provides a quick overview of how fitness and a little exercise before testing can improve children's learning process. We get down to the scientific reason and look at a few case studies to understand how it works.

Fitness & Learning

Meet Christina, a fifth-grade math teacher. Like most teachers, Christina wears many hats. In one day, she will introduce a new curriculum, spend time with an ESL kid who is eager to learn but cannot fully understand fractions, discipline an ADHD student, and comfort the student whose family is living in a car. On top of that, she's pressured to make sure students pass the end of year tests. With limited resources, Christina is anxious to find a solution. She's heard rumors about fitness being tied to academic performance and decides to do a little research.

The Studies

Christina quickly learns that the rumors are true: fitness does have an impact. She found a few studies that back up this theory.

  • Study 1: In 2007, the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology published a study where 259 third and fifth graders were tested on physical results and math and reading scores on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. The researcher found that the more physical tests a student passed, the higher they score on the standardized test, regardless of gender or socio-economic background.
  • Study 2: In August 2013, the Journal of Pediatrics published a study that compared 12,000 kids' fitness to academic performance. The study found that fit kids had higher test scores and overall significantly higher academic achievement.
  • Study 3: The same year, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tested 48 nine- and ten-year-olds on memorization after completing aerobic exercises. They found that aerobic exercising before a memory test increased their ability to recall information and test higher. If the student was fit, their scores were even higher.

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