Solvation Blog

Ontario high school shows fitness equals better marks.

A recent article in the Ottawa Citizen says that in high schools across the city, "students are running, spinning and doing jumping jacks and squats before they sit down at a desk to tackle math or English. In some classrooms, calisthentics are combined with math problems and English questions at fitness stations."

treadmill runner

The program is called Igniting the Spark and is in its fourth year at a handful of schools in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board.

The result? "In one English class, the class average rose from the 50s to 72 per cent by the end of the semester," says the article. Not only did the average grade increae, but disciplinary problems also disappeared and attendance records and fitness levels improved.

This certainly isn't the first time the concept that excercise can have a positive influence on the brain has been discussed. In a 2011 article on Science Daily, Michelle W. Voss, of the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, and her colleagues found that "both aerobic exercise and strength training can have significant positive effects on brain health and function."

So, the next time you're facing a mental challenge, instead of burrowing into a book and struggling for hours, hit the gym or go for a short run. The positive effects might just help you in, and out of, the classroom!

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Bruce McAskill Bruce McAskill, PhD, is an educational consultant and a high school math and science teacher in Victoria, BC.