Students are under immense pressure to perform academically, with the world
becoming more competitive. However, many must understand that physical activities
are crucial to academic success. Moreover, it’s essential to have a well-rounded, holistic
education that goes beyond textbooks and lectures into the fields and gardens.
Therefore, physical activities should be included in every student’s routine, whether in
primary, secondary, or tertiary education. Regular physical activity has many benefits
that can help students excel academically and lead healthy lifestyles.
A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and
PsycINFO databases for all RCTs published between January 2014 and July 2020,
where the authors searched these databases using controlled vocabularies, keywords,
and Boolean logic, and data were later extracted from the studies.
Based on means and SDs at posttest using Hedge’s g formula, effect sizes were calculated, and 20 studies were included for research. 80% of the studies analyzed showed positive results,
indicating a significant impact of exercise or physical activity on cognition.
Improved Concentration and Memory Retention
Regular physical activity can improve concentration and memory retention. Physical
exercise increases the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, which helps improve
cognitive function. Exercise also stimulates the production of hormones like dopamine,
serotonin, and norepinephrine, which play a critical role in cognitive function, including
learning, memory, and attention.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Academic pressure can be stressful and can lead to anxiety. Physical activity helps to
reduce stress and anxiety levels in students. Exercise stimulates the production of
endorphins, known to improve mood and reduce stress. Exercise also helps to promote
relaxation, which can help students to reduce anxiety levels.
Improved Sleep Quality
Physical activity helps to improve sleep quality, which is essential for academic
success. Exercising for some time or a day full of mild yet constant physical activity
makes us tired, weary, and sleepy; it reduces the time to fall asleep and improves sleep
quality, allowing students to wake up feeling refreshed and alert for the next academic
day at school.
Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
Physical activity can also enhance creativity and problem-solving skills. Exercise
stimulates the brain’s production of new neurons, which enhances brain plasticity. Exercise also increases the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps promote new brain cell growth. These new brain cells improve creativity and problem-solving skills.
Improved Physical Health
Regular physical activity helps to improve physical health, which can lead to academic
success. Exercise strengthens muscles and bones, improves cardiovascular health, and
diminishes the risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. Physical
activity also helps to enhance immune function, reducing the risk of illness, leading to
missed school days and decreased academic performance.
How to Incorporate Physical Activity into a Student’s Life
Incorporating physical activity into a student’s life can be easy and fun. Schools can
offer physical education classes and promote outdoor activities like hiking, camping,
and team-building. Schools can also offer extracurricular activities like sports teams,
dance clubs, and fitness classes to encourage students to stay active outside regular
school hours. By providing various extracurricular activities, schools can appeal to a
broader range of students and encourage them to participate in physical activities.
Parents can also encourage physical activity by providing opportunities for their children
to engage in physical activities like swimming, cycling, and playing sports. Parents can
also promote active lifestyles by limiting screen time and encouraging their children to
In conclusion, physical activities play a crucial role in academic success. Regular
physical activity can improve concentration and memory retention, reduce stress and
anxiety, improve sleep quality, enhance creativity and problem-solving skills, and
improve physical health.
Schools and parents can encourage physical activity by offering physical education classes, promoting outdoor activities, and offering extracurricular activities. By incorporating physical activity into a student’s life, we can help students achieve academic excellence and lead healthy lifestyles.