In an article published recently by Science Daily, it was found that kids in better shape or more fit, finished higher in their class in terms of test scores.
Fit Kids, Smart Kids
This is a super important study as it shows that schools that try to eliminate P.E class and/or recess are only doing the students harm. The more fit the kids are, the better they do on tests, specifically funding related standardized tests. Not only that but if you teach fitness skills early, kids are more likely to adapt and keep up a healthy lifestyle.
Studies have also shown that by exercising, students learn new skills, and develop more neurons. This enables more pathways in the brain, therefore making learning easier. John J. Ratey’s book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the
Brain examines something called Zero Hour P.E. Class in which students exercise before first period. The results were astounding. Zero Hour PE showed improvements in reading and comprehension. I'm not going to get into all the details, you can read the article for that. But its interesting to see the correlation between exercise and success in the classroom.
In a related study, Brain Development/Fitness, it was found that there was an association between fitness of 9-10 year olds and hippocampus development. The hippocampus is an area of the brain associated with memory. And as any student knows, memory is important in terms of learning. In the study, it was found that there was a larger hippocampal volume in fitter 9-10 year olds. So once again, exercise and learning are related.
And its never too late. The neurological system is plastic and is always changing. Challenge your brain, try new skills, work out harder and smarter. Who knows where it'll take you.
In the end, it should never be an issue whether kids should have P.E class or recess. Exercise and playing have a huge role in brain development and learning ability. Lets keep it that way.