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Two More Hours of PE Each Week Doubles Chances of Academic Success

Two More Hours of PE Each Week Doubles Chances of Academic Success

"An Active Kid Will Thrive In The Classroom"

SILVER SPRING, MD – November 11, 2014 – Daily physical activity makes a huge impact on kids’ academics.  The conclusion from a recent study in Sweden indicates that increased physical activity boosts learning.

"You can express it that two hours of extra physical education each week doubled the odds that a pupil achieves the national learning goals. We did not see a corresponding improvement in the control schools, where the pupils did not receive extra physical activity -- rather the contrary, a deterioration," says scientist and neurologist Thomas Linden at the Sahlgrenska Academy/University of Gothenberg.

There is other research which shows increased physical activity also improves academic results.  The results of a recent study publicized in the Daily Mail indicate that children who are fit, exercise, and are active are more likely to have faster brain responses and stronger reading/language skills.

“Many studies conducted in the last decade, on children and older adults have repeatedly demonstrated an effect of increases in either physical activity in one's lifestyle or improvements in aerobic fitness, and the implications of those health behaviors for brain structure, brain function and cognitive performance,” concludes the study’s lead author Professor Charles Hillman at the University of Illinois.

Those aforementioned findings underscore the significance of another study done at the Legacy Charter School in Greenville, SC which has discovered that daily physical activity is the ‘key’ to maximizing academic achievement for students.  The study legacy revealed that students taking 45 minutes of daily PE improved their cognitive abilities by nearly 60 percent, compared to 25 percent for students of similar backgrounds in other schools who had just one period of PE a week.

“An active child will thrive in the classroom.  As a physical educator, I do feel that there’s a strong correlation between physical activity and academic success,” says Ellen Smith, PE teacher, Palm Beach County School System (Florida), who is also an Ambassador for PHIT America.

According to other research conducted by HOPSports Global Health Network, teachers have noticed that when students get up and moving throughout the school day, their bodies and brains are primed for optimal learning.

"The consensus today is that physiology has remained constant for hundreds of years,” says Tom Root, CEO of HOPSports.  “The brain like any other organ in the body requires fuel to operate. In a child, the blood pools in the stomach 20 minutes after a child has been sitting. The only way to reverse this is to increase blood flow to the brain through physical activity. A healthy safe child can be taught anything."

When the evidence about the benefits of physical activity for students is so clear, it is an injustice that only six states require P.E. in every grade, according to Shape America.  And, just 8% of 12-15 year olds in the U.S. meet the minimum criteria for activity, according to the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance.

The issue of inactivity has ramifications beyond the classroom, according to Dr. Steven Blair, a professor of the departments of exercise science and epidemiology/biostatistics at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

“Physical inactivity is the biggest public health problem in the 21st Century,” says Dr. Blair.

“The evidence is clear.  Simply put, increased activity is the pathway to total fitness – of the body, mind and spirit. Physical benefits have always been clear. But, the benefits to having a fit mind and building great personality characteristics are what makes activity, sport and fitness so important,” said Baugh, Founder of PHIT America.  “This is why we keep pushing quality P.E. in our schools. PE helps trim children’s waistlines, improves their chances of earning good grades and higher test scores, and much more.”

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