The Correlation Between Running And The Classroom


The Correlation Of Aerobic Exercise And Academic Achievement

Aerobic exercise is proven to help kids academically in school. The evidence is overwhelming in support of running for more than just health and fitness. Running and other forms of aerobic exercise help the brain function more clearly.

A strong positive correlation exists between aerobic exercise (running) and learning. Aerobic exercise increases circulation in the body and improves brain functions positively. The unique God-given gift of running has profound positive effects on learning ability.

Various studies have improved test scores for students who add aerobic exercise to their day. As stated in one of the articles below, "higher test results support the notion that students should be given adequate time to exercise during the regular school day."

In most cases, aerobic exercise has shown positive results in the classroom.                                    

Running as it relates to academic success is not a theory to me. I've seen the positive effects of running in the classroom year in and year out. Aerobic exercise and solid academic achievement go hand in hand.

The cross-country teams I’ve coached have won academic awards yearly from the local state high school athletic association. Our teams have won the state academic championship for Cross-Country teams with the highest team GPA twice statewide in the last few years.   

Another year, the  Washington State legislature honored one of the teams I helped coach for outstanding academic and long-term athletic performance. They won nine consecutive state cross-country championships and yearly state academic awards.   

On another note, the last six valedictorians at JPII were members of the cross-country teams and members of the school track and field teams. I think this fact, if nothing else, is at least interesting to talk about. 

I've seen strong academic accomplishments year in and year out with the running teams I’ve coached.  Aerobic exercise and strong academics go hand in hand. 

Running And Aerobic Exercise Helps Brain Development And Much More

Running and brain development go together as well. Cognitive function improves with sustained aerobic exercise. Scientific journals are full of studies that validate the value of sustained aerobic exercise in learning.

Running also helps mitigate the impacts of ADD, ADHD, and even depression. Again, this is not a theory to me at all. I've seen the results first-hand with the student-athletes I've coached. The impact of appropriate exercise is life-changing for many student-athletes in positive, life-giving ways.

Helping kids with these types of struggles is one of the reasons I coach. 

Think Michael Phelps, the most decorated gold medal Olympic athlete. Read his story sometime about how aerobic exercise (swimming) helped him overcome his challenges in the abovementioned areas. He had one wise mother who found a way to help her son overcome significant life challenges.

During COVID, running was one of the few outlets for many kids, especially for the kids I coached. For some, it was the only social outlet.

Emotional and spiritual health is much more important to me than all the combined running championships and academic accomplishments. 

Those accomplishments don't hold a candle to seeing kids smile and find happiness during challenging circumstances, COVID or otherwise.

Being outside with teammates in the fresh air is a Godsend in many beautiful ways and on different levels.

Other reasons to consider running and aerobic exercise include emotional health:

·       Sleep better at night

·       Relieve stress and anxiety

·       Connect with friends; we need others

·       Boost energy and productivity

·       Better able to cope with daily frustrations

·       Brain chemistry changes positively, and this lasts for hours. 

While there are always exceptions to just about any rule or situation, the benefits of aerobic exercise are verifiable, well-known in most environments, and promoted by high school, college, and health oversight organizations worldwide for most students.

Impacts Of Withholding Exercise As Punishment Or Discipline

However, in some environments where the benefits of aerobic exercise are lesser-known, activity is sometimes withheld as a punishment or a disciplinary tactic when grades are in question. This approach is a significant concern, in my opinion, because grade and academic issues are compounded by withholding exercise, and emotional health is negatively impacted.

Fortunately, I've been blessed with people who understand exercise's benefits, as outlined above.  

The benefits of aerobic exercise listed above cease when used as a discipline tool for an individual. Not good.                                   

I am not saying to discipline a person when it is needed. Try to find another creative way to discipline the person in question. I have worked with others for years to help identify more appropriate and impactful correction strategies. 

Why take away a proven way to help emotional and academic health if you don't have to?

The sample resources below outline the correlation and benefits of aerobic exercise, brain development, and academics. Many additional resources outline the benefits of aerobic exercise on brain development and academic achievement.                                  

Conduct your research on the benefits of running and other forms of aerobic exercise with sources you trust. Understanding the benefits of this critical topic is worth the time and energy.


Coach Weber

Philippians 4:13

WIAAPhoto statechampswiaa.jpeg