Four Breakthrough Studies: Physical Activity Reaps Report Card Results

SILVER SPRING, MD – July 18, 2013 – Physical activity is the best route to academic success!  The results of four separate recent studies uncovered by PHIT America confirm the positive correlation between exercise and good grades.  What’s amazing is that physical activity is not always restricted to the athletic field, weight room, or gymnasium!

Double-Digit Percentage Hike in Test Scores for Students in ‘Brain Rooms’ – Charleston, SC

A major academic innovation in Charleston, SC is the creation of ‘Brain Rooms,’ which are being used in six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.  In each school, the ‘Brain Room’ is a traditional classroom, but the children are in constant motion while learning – doing push-ups, performing sit-ups, walking on a treadmill, sitting on a balance ball, or working out on an elliptical machine.

“In the ‘Brain Rooms,’ we just exchanged desks,” said Dave Spurlock, the coordinator for health, physical education, ROTC, athletics, and district wellness for the Charleston School District.  “Instead of a static approach to learning, we are using a kinesthetic approach.  We are proving that you must move to learn.”

At just one of the elementary schools, grades and test scores for students who were healthy and active increased by 13% to 48%, depending on the class.

“The story in Charleston, South Carolina about how physical activity is being aggressively used in the classroom setting is remarkable,” said Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America.  “Every school district in America should follow their lead.  It’s time for all school district leaders in this country to ‘wake up and smell the roses’ when it comes to the importance of physical activity.  Students who receive daily PE in school have a greater chance of higher test scores in class.”

“The results speak for themselves,” said Spurlock.  “Physical activity truly enhances academic achievement, but it goes against the prevailing attitude in education which requires our students get more seat time.”  Spurlock knows that the more students move, the more they learn.

In addition to the work being done in the ‘Brain Rooms’ in Charleston, researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital performed a study at one of Charleston’s low-scoring elementary schools in SC Childrens Hospitalorder to determine how implementing a daily physical education program that incorporated classroom lessons would affect student achievement.  The study targeted first through sixth graders.  In this experimental program, the children were given 40 minutes of P.E. each day at school (Monday through Friday).  Prior to this test, the children were given 40 minutes of P.E. each week!  The conclusion of the study was that more time spent outside of the classroom doing P.E. actually helped academic scores.  Prior to the study, 55% of the elementary students were reaching their academic testing goals.  After the study, 68.5% of the students from that elementary school were reaching their academic testing goals.

“More studies are needed, but there is growing substantial evidence that this kind of physical activity may help academic behavior, cognitive skills, and attitudes,” said Dr. Carly J. Scahill, DO, pediatric resident at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital.

Nearly 60% Academic Improvement for Active Kids – Greenville, SC

Legacy Charter School in Greenville, SC has unlocked the ‘key’ to maximizing academic achievement and performance for students.  That ‘key’ is providing students more physical activity and exercise opportunities – on a daily basis!

Julian Reed, an associate professor of health sciences at Furman University, conducted a three-year study at Legacy Charter School which examined the effects of 45 minutes of daily exercise/physical education on academic Furnan Uperformance and cognitive ability.  Reed found that not only did Legacy’s students improve on 92 percent of the fitness measures tested, but they also grew by 59 percent in their cognitive abilities, compared to 25 percent for students of similar backgrounds in other schools who had just one period of PE a week.

“The evidence is clear.  Simply put, perspiration is the key to education,” said Baugh.  “Daily P.E. in our schools for our children will help trim their waistlines and improve their chances of earning good grades and higher test scores.”

Exercise Helps GPAs! – Purdue University

College students who visit their campus gyms to exercise are more likely to succeed in the classroom, according to data from Purdue University.  Click Here to read the research.

"Students who worked out at Purdue's gym at least once a week were more likely to earn a higher grade point Purdue Uaverage than students who visited less or not at all," says Tricia Zelaya, assistant director for student development and assessment at Purdue's Division of Recreational Sports. "Going to the gym is so much more than going to the gym. Students who are motivated by fitness and wellness tend to have better time management skills, and research shows that being fit is good for the mind. It all ties together."

“It is quite clear that physical activity is a key component of the academic experience,” said Baugh. 

Active Children Are Healthy & Smart – Action for Healthy Kids

A recent study by Action for Healthy Kids indicates that schools that offer students healthier food and more time to be active are seeing increasing fitness levels, better student behavior and even higher test scores. Simply put, children who don't eat nutritiously and don’t get regular exercise are at an academic disadvantage.  Click Here for additional details on this study.

PHIT America -- an educational, advocacy and social media marketing campaign -- is designed to reach millions of Action for Healthy KidsAmericans and create a Movement for a Fit and Healthy America. PHIT America will combat the obesity and sedentary activity crisis -- which is having an adverse effect on health care costs in the U.S. -- by promoting new legislation and grassroots programs that will help get Americans more active, playing more sports, getting fit and becoming healthier.

PHIT America is a not-for-profit corporation started by the SFIA (Sports and Fitness Industry Association) in January 2013.  For more information about PHIT America, visit www.PHITAmerica.org.

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