How cutting physical education in schools could hurt grades

Sept. 11, 2013, TIME

By Alexandra Sifferlin

While gym class may seem like an extraneous part of an academic program, getting aerobic exercise can help students to learn and remember more.

A small study of 48 students between the ages 9 and 10 showed that those with higher levels of physical fitness performed better on mental tests. The researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had the kids memorize names and locations on a map of a made-up region. Students in the top 30 percent of their age group for aerobic fitness were better able to learn and recall the fictitious names and locations than those in the lowest 30 percent for aerobic fitness. This difference was even more pronounced when the kids were tested in the most challenging way — after studying alone, compared to being tested periodically while they studied, which is considered an easier way to retain information. Continue reading