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Thesis

Throughout your life time you’ve heard exercise is an essential part of your daily life

and heard all about the different benefits it can achieve. Still many of us don’t exercise at all

due to different circumstances that impedes us, such as work and school to name a few. I

believe if we focused on certain exercises and the frequencies we can improve the outcomes it

can have towards our education. Through my personal experiences I believe exercise has

helped me excel in my education throughout the years. Many students are at a crossroad

between making time to exercise and doing other things, for example work, academic work or

doing other activities. Many of them know the benefits exercise can provide to your overall

health but still some students don’t exercise. Sure there are some students that exercise at least

once per week, but is there a specific type of exercise that is more beneficial in improving

education? Does working out for longer periods of time have better results in education than

short vigorous workouts?

According to John J. Ratey , “one of the prominent features of exercise which is not

appreciated in studies, is an improvement in the rate of learning”. Ratey, a renowned M.D.

recognized for his expertise in neuropsychiatry, has spent most of his time studying the effects

exercise can have on the brain and education. In his book, Spark: The revolutionary new

science of exercise and the brain, Ratey emphasizes the importance of exercise to build and

condition the brain as well as reducing anxiety and depression levels. In his book, Ratey

points out the study where students participated in a physical activity class before starting the

day at school. The Zero Hour class stated, “What we’re really doing is trying to get them

prepared to learn, through rigorous exercise,” which shows the type of exercise they were

focusing on. The students claimed an improvement in their overall mood throughout the day

while also doing better in their classes compared to their peers who stayed in and took regular

physical education. He supports exercise as being beneficial for education and agrees with

others in supporting exercise to benefit education among students. John Ratey emphasizes,

“One of the prominent features of exercise, which is not appreciated in studies, is an

improvement in the rate of learning.” I agree with Ratey’s stance on exercise benefiting

education and that rigorous exercise before the beginning of class is the key to improving

education. I can also relate to exercising before class as being helpful before starting the

school day. My mood was more aware and focused when I worked out compared to not

exercising before going to class. This allowed my grades to be better and my cognitive

performance to be significantly better. Additionally, Ratey states, “it’s a truly revolutionary

concept from which we can all learn,” showing his claim supporting early and vigorous

exercise to improve education.

Likewise in the video from TEDx Talks , Run,

Jump, Learn! How exercise can

transform our schools,Ratey

argues the importance of exercise for the brain and not just for

the body. He says “Exercise is a terrific way to improve the learner because it turns on the

attention system, the motivation system, and the memory system.” TEDx Talks is a nonprofit

foundation devoted to spreading ideas and conversations from various intellectuals of

different backgrounds. In his presentation, he provides research experimented on students

which showed the decrease in depression. Furthermore, the research also saw a decrease in

student absences while the students were being physically active. The studies he described in

the presentation showed how making students exercise helps the students have lower

depression scores compared to Zoloft. Additionally, he explains another study that showed

how students who were known to have discipline issues in class responded to being placed in

workout routine. The results from the experiment showed that the students had fewer

suspensions as well as less absences. The last study he talks about is the effects exercise has

on math scores among students. The more fitness standards the students achieved the better

the scores they received on the tests. The presentation showed the benefits exercise can have

towards improving education through various ways. Along with his book, Ratey in the TEDx

Talks agrees with others on exercise benefiting education. He says “Exercise is a terrific way

to improve the learner because it turns on the attention system, the motivation system and the

memory system”. I agree with Ratey on exercise being very beneficial towards improving

education in students but Ratey didn’t state the type of exercise they made the students

perform and whether the different types of exercises had resulted in distinct outcomes.

Similarly, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

(

CDC)stresses the importance of exercise in benefiting education. The document “Health and

Academic Achievement”provided from the CDC displays students that participated in

physical activity tended to have better standardized grades, better behavior and a positive

outcome in cognitive performance. The report states “More participation in physical education

class has been associated with better grades, standardized test scores, and classroom behaviors

among students.” On the one hand the document agrees with exercise being beneficial for

education but on the other hand it points out extracurricular physical activities being more

helpful in education and brain functions. In addition the document reveals that participation in

extracurricular physical activities have been associated with higher GPAs, lower dropout rates

and fewer disciplinary issues among students. Unlike Ratey who supports exercising before

class, the CDC shows that extracurricular physical activities can also help improve grades and

behaviors among students. I feel like it would be easier for students to participate in

extracurricular physical activities instead of early workout classes. I believe this because most

students would prefer to stay in and sleep instead of getting up and going to workout. But on

the other hand if the student has to work or has a lot of school assignments then it would be

better for the student to exercise before class. So in this case, it depends on the schedule of the

student to decide the best approach to exercise. The CDC agrees with Ratey TEDx Talk on

exercise improving grades, concentration and also helps deal with discipline problems among

students. Since the CDC is a well renowned agency, the research and results they find are very

important. I agree with what the CDC says about exercise being key to better education in

particular the effects of extracurricular physical activities. I can relate to extracurricular

physical activities being helpful through my personal experiences while being in middle and

high school. While being involved in soccer I could see an improvement in my cognitive

behavior and performance. But recently I haven’t been able to workout after class because I

work and, I have noticed a decrease in my behavior as well as slightly lower grades. This

makes me support Ratey’s claim on working out before going to class because of not being

able to workout after class.

Keeping in consideration exercise having positive effects on education, the National

Library of Medicine in the article “Educating the student body: taking physical activity and

physical education to schoolphysical activity being beneficial for cognitive performance

among students. They measured cognitive performance in eight categories consisting of

perceptual skills, IQ, achievement, verbal tests, mathematics tests, memory developmental

level/academic readiness and others. From these tests they found more beneficial relationship

of physical activity to all cognitive outcomes instead of negative results. Similarly the article

agrees with the previous article from the CDC on the positive outcomes from extracurricular

activities on education. Also the article has similar views on vigorous activity for 60 minutes

as being beneficial for education. In the same way I also created a survey asking various

college students about how much they exercise, what type of exercise they practice and

whether they experience exercise impacting their studies in a positive or negative way. The

results from the survey showed many of the students were physically active throughout the

week while doing various activities. Many of the students also agreed on a positive correlation

between exercise and education. Sure many students are busy after school, but being able to

get in a short and vigorous workout can help improve scores and improve cognitive behavior

which would be key in education. That way you won’t have to spend a lot of time working out

which you may not have available.

Likewise, in the article “Vigorous exercise linked with better grades ” by Tara

Parker-Pope in the New York Times, she claims vigorous exercise helps students achieve

better grades than their peers who don’t exercise at all. The research Parker-Pope shares

comes from Saginaw Valley State University where undergraduate students participated in the

experiment. The experiment showed that “On a 4.0 grade scale, students who exercised

vigorously seven days a week had GPA’s that were, on average, 0.4 points higher than those

who didn’t exercise” which proves that exercise can help you achieve better grades. Unlike

the other sources, this article highlights vigorous exercise as the way to improve grades

among students while also agreeing with exercise having a positive effect on education. I

agree with the article on vigorous exercise being the best way to improve education among

students. I believe practicing vigorous exercise is better than doing other exercises because

you get the brain more active and you can practice vigorous exercise in shorter time lengths.

Being able to do vigorous exercise in shorter time is easier for more people to accomplish

because it isn’t as time consuming as other exercises. This means that people who are usually

busy due to work, school, or other activities that require people to be unable to work out can

practice vigorous exercise to better cognitive behavior as well as behavior.

However some students that don’t exercise at all are still able to perform academically

well. Sure studying and working hard can help improve your grades while not having to

workout but some students can’t function that way. Not every person learns the same way and

for some students its more difficult for them to excel academically. Exercise is a way for some

students to help them focus and improve their cognitive behavior. It allows the student better

awareness, helps with memory, and helps students with their behavior. Also exercise can help

fight depression and anxiety among students. With these benefits, students see an

improvement in their grades while also having a healthy lifestyle.

In conclusion, exercise is beneficial for education however, vigorous physical activity

can be a way to gain better cognitive performance among students. Exercise has been proven

to improve education among various sources that all agree on the benefits of exercise. It

depends on a students schedule to figure out the best possible time to be able to workout in

order to benefit academically. I support the claim of exercising before class vigorously

because it allows the student to have an improved mood to be able to focus and be mentally

aware. This allows the student to be able to get better grades.

Works Cited

Kohl, I I, and H D Cook. “Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and

Physical Education to School.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. ,

U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24851299.

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Vigorous Exercise Linked With Better Grades.” The New York

Times,The New York Times, 3 June 2010,

well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/vigorous-exercise-linked-with-better-grades/.

Ratey, John J., and Eric Hagerman. Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise

and the Brain . Little, Brown, 2013.

Talks, TEDx. “Run, Jump, Learn! How Exercise Can Transform Our Schools: John J.

Ratey, MD at TEDxManhattanBeach.” YouTube,YouTube, 18 Nov. 2012,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBSVZdTQmDs .

“Health and Academic Achievement .” Published by the CDC, 05/2014

www.cdc.gov/Healthyyouth/health_and_academics/Pdf/Health-Academic-Achieve

ment.pdf.

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