School and sports. Do they seem like two completely different things? In one you’re running down a field, throwing a ball and getting active. In the other you’re sitting at a desk with your head in a book. If they seem like total opposites, they can be. That said, sports can actually help you in school. Here’s how.
Playing a sport can lower your stress level and reduce anxiety, according to the Institute of Medicine. Why is this important in school? Let’s say you have finals or a big test coming up. You probably feel a little stressed – at the very least. Right? Hitting the track for practice, getting into the weight room during training time or running around the soccer field regularly can help you to relax! The less stress you have, the more of your mind you can devote to your school work. Along with that, reducing general (or school) anxiety lets you calm down and focus.
Research may show a connection between being physically active and having better brain function. What do the scientists think? Some studies have found that intense physical activity helps children to actually think better. This may lead to increased test scores and overall better grades. Of course, physical activity alone isn’t the key to school success. Even though some research says that sports and stand-out school performance go hand-in-hand, other factors such as studying, focus, hard work and motivation are absolutely necessary to do well. This means that relying solely on your sport to give you an academic boost won’t do. But, it is possible that athletic activities can help do better in your classes.
A Healthier Body
A study of more than 1,900 fifth, seventh and ninth graders in California schools found that children and teens with a lower BMI (body mass index) had better standardized test scores in math, reading and language than those with higher BMIs. Since sports lead to healthier bodies, it’s possible that your athletic activities are leading to better school performance. What’s the concensus from the research? Lowering your BMI, through sports and other physical activity, not only helps your body, but also helps your brain.
You already know ‘there’s no I in team’. You’re a good sport on the field, and that teaches you to do the same off the field too. Even though school isn’t exactly a team effort, you need social skills to navigate through your academic day. Why? There are times when your teacher may ask you to work on a group project, pair up with a friend or study with classmates. Your team experiences during sports practice and games can help you to get along with your study group, participate more fully and work together.
Whether you’re the team captain or not, sports can teach leadership. There are times when, at practice or during games, that you’ll need to help your teammates, call a play or take charge. You bring these leadership skills to school as well. This may translate into you taking a role in student council, heading a study group or feeling more comfortable presenting a project in class.
Sports can also help you in seemingly small ways at school. From the time management skills that you develop balancing practice and homework to the mindset that you have to succeed, sports give you abilities, ideas and knowledge that lead to school success!