In a high-pressured period of your life such as late high school, it can be tempting to focus all of your efforts on academics, to the detriment of all else. However, research has demonstrated that such an approach can be counterproductive. Exercise and sports have been shown to improve academic performance – so hold off on cancelling all of your extra-curricular sport for Year 12!
What are some of the academic benefits of sports for students?
Improved sleep: you know that feeling after a long stretch of exercise? Sports and exercise are very beneficial to your quality of sleep, and often help you with troubles falling asleep. Anything that will help the quality of your sleep is bound to come in handy when it comes to academics – sleep has a very important role in the laying down of memory pathways.
Release of endorphins: playing sports contributes to increased levels of serotonin, which creates feelings of happiness. This can only be helpful when long periods of studying are demoralising – sports are a great way of lifting you back up. Regular exercise actually increases levels of energy, giving you more energy towards that late-night study session.
Improved cognitive functions: some studies have demonstrated that sports actually contribute towards improved academic outcomes. Not only do sports indirectly help academic performance, but they have a direct impact upon memory and cognitive abilities. Sports have also been shown to contributing towards reduced levels of stress, which will only benefit academic performance.
Self-confidence: this one is less obvious than the others. However, experiences of victories and losses aid a student to develop self-confidence. After all, one can only improve at something when they have experienced failure. Such experiences help a student take ownership of their study and have the confidence to succeed, often a quality which is underestimated in success.
Discipline: playing sports, and particularly team sports, requires hard-work and discipline. These are qualities which are essential to a successful student, and drawing upon these skills helps to create a pattern of behaviour which can be then easily applied to academics.
Tenacity: playing sports helps develop a person’s dedication and ability to bounce back from failure. This is essential to success in academic pursuits: you cannot let one bad result stop you from performing well; instead, failure can be used to create motivation to propel you forward to work harder in the future.
Teamwork: team sports teach you nearly everything you need to know about working in a team. When it comes to study, it’s important to be able to work with your peers so you can resolve issues which you may not be able to resolve alone. When it comes to group assignments, your teamwork skills learnt from sports will come in handy.
Leadership skills: taking on a leadership role in sports can help you in day-to-day life, as well as academics. Make sure you draw on your confidence and ability to choose a direction when it comes to studying.
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: 3 Facts You Should Know About Your ATAR, Tips for Supporting Your Child in Year 11 and 12! and Will anyone care about your ATAR in a year?
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