Does Gym Class Help Students Improve In All Their Classes?

High School Gym Class
High School Gym Class
Dennis MacDonald

Far from the long lectures, notes, books, and academic stress sits the gym classes in school—the place where students should find solace and rejuvenation, listen to the rhythmic thud of basketballs echoing off the walls and the squeaky sneakers of their peers. However, only some students would say that gym class is their favorite class of the day. Nonetheless, if students were aware of all the benefits of gym class, they would change their answers to this question. 

“Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions,” the CDC reports. But, what many don’t know is that physical activity can enhance your sense of control, ability to cope, and self-esteem, according to Better Health. Participating in fitness can also help divert your attention away from negative thoughts, offering a mental break from stress and anxiety. In addition, it provides opportunities to explore and participate in new activities, enriching your life with fresh experiences and potentially discovering new interests or hobbies.

Almost all students in high school have had their fair share of anxiety and stress, yet did they know that exercise can help them manage their stress levels? While you exercise, your brain’s neurotransmitters are boosted, which improves your mood and stress levels. They are called endorphins, according to the Mayo Clinic. Many call this runner’s high, yet this is produced in any form of exercise. More than once have I zoned out or felt out of focus during class, and I am sure many students have as well. Fortunately, studies from UCL News show that while exercising, blood flows to your brain, and “This in turn fires up your neurons and promotes cell growth, particularly in the hippocampus. This means that only 20 minutes of exercise before studying can improve your concentration and help you focus your learning.”

It’s not uncommon to look around your class and see multiple students lying on the table or even falling asleep, especially towards the end of the day when every strand of energy in your brain is gone. Propitiously for those students, exercise restores your energy and can make you feel like it’s the beginning of the day, as stated in UCL News. Moreover, it’s proven that fitness and writing have a direct link: exercise can enhance creativity, hence helping in writing school papers and projects that require innovative thinking.

Currently, as we wrap up finals week, all I hear is “There is so much information that we need to remember, it’s crazy,” “I will never memorize the name of the third emperor of ancient China!,” or “I don’t think I have ever needed to memorize this many notes.” Hence, I was more than delighted to learn that working out also improves one’s memory. “Research shows that physical exercise releases proteins in the brain that can actually help improve your memory and increase your cognitive performance,“ the UCL university newspaper says.

Over and above that, taking part in PE classes regularly helps you sleep better; better sleep leads to a better mood, a better mood leads to increased productivity, and increased productivity leads to better grades.

Gym class is more than just a break from academic stress, it’s a crucial part of overall student well-being and success. By participating in physical activities, students can improve their physical health, boost their mood, and enhance their cognitive abilities. Regular exercise helps manage stress, increases focus, and even improves memory, which are all essential for excelling in other classes. Let’s give gym class the credit it deserves.

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About the Contributor
Gili Shoval
Gili Shoval, Staff Writer
Gili Shoval ('27) is enrolled in Journalism this year, and she's excited to write for The Echo.