Everyone knows that healthy choices are good for our heart, self-confidence, energy and happiness, but did you know that physical activity and proper nutrition can benefit students’ academic achievement as well?
Physical Activity Improves Cognitive Functioning
Scientifically speaking, physical activity positively impacts the development of the brain. How so?
- Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which increases the delivery nutrients and oxygen
- Increased oxygen to the brain boosts cognitive functioning
- Increased cognitive functioning allows students to learn faster, remember more and think more clearly
Physical Activity Improves Concentration Levels & Behavior
When children are sedentary for long periods of time, excess energy builds and students lose their ability to focus, resulting in decreased concentration, fidgeting, restlessness and off-task behavior.
- Physical activity results in more refreshed students who are eager to learn
- Boosts student’s attention rates—sharpens their focus and concentration
- Teachers reported more on-task behavior after students were physically active than when they weren’t
Proper Nutrition Fuels Brain Functioning
Proper nutrition has the same positive impact on a student’s academic achievement as physical activity does. It positively impacts a student’s cognitive functioning and concentration level!
- If a child arrives to school hungry, their ability to focus, absorb information and learn is diminished
- Proper nutrition fuels complex brain functions such as, memorizing, analyzing and learning new concepts
Proper Nutrition- Good Carbs Provide Sustained Energy
Carbohydrates provide needed energy for our bodies, however, did you know that it’s important to make sure your carbohydrates are “good carbs”? By avoiding “bad carbs” (white bread, white rice, processed snacks) you will avoid the dreaded energy crash! Some examples of good carbs are:
- Whole grains
By emphasizing the importance of “good carbs” to students, you will empower them with the knowledge needed to make wise snack decisions, which will provide sustained energy!
Proper Nutrition- Protein
Proteins are another important source of fuel. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for our brains! Proteins also provide energy over longer periods of time, which is essential for student achievement. Proteins help students stay alert and energized throughout the day! Some good sources of protein are:
- Peanut Butter
- Greek yogurt
- Lean meat
Healthy Students Are Better Students
Overall, healthy students are better students. Children who are physically active and eat healthy foods are better prepared to learn and retain information and stay focused and on-task in the classroom!