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Academic Achievement and Physical Fitness Thesis


Increased levels of obesity and poor health standards among students across the United States (US) has brought a lot of focus to student health and more so, the effects of bad health on academic performance (Chomitz, 2009, p. 30).

However, the debate on the correlation between health and academic performance has long been done and concluded. On the other hand, the debate on the correlation between physical activities (as a significant health facet for students) and academic performance is only emerging.

The benefits of regular physical exercise have been widely acknowledged throughout health and medical circles. For instance, research studies done on animals have come to a conclusion that physical exercising increases neural development while other closely related similar studies have affirmed that physical exercising leads to a more excellent development of neuronal synapses (Grissom, 2005, p. 1).

Increased physical activity has also been affirmed to reduce stress levels and equally reduce anxiety, not only among students but also in the general human population as well. These factors have been associated with increased academic performance.

In fact, there has been evidence of upcoming research studies suggesting that the lack of physical exercise or inactivity may in the near future overtake the detrimental effects tobacco is known to have on human beings (Grissom, 2005, p. 1).

Some sections of the media have also identified that survivors of cancer have a higher likelihood of preventing the occurrence of the disease if they regularly exercise and observe a healthy diet.

These findings are likely to develop a new relationship between the learning environment and student cognitive development, but more questions still linger on whether the relationship between physical exercises and academic achievement can be linked to academic performance when standardized tests are applicable (Kirk, 2006, p. 203).

This point of view is shared by Grissom (2005) who notes that “Few studies have used standardized fitness measures and standardized test scores in large urban populations or examined the relationship of academic achievement and fitness among elementary and middle school students” (p. 3).

However, the same level of optimism about physical exercising in the media and health circles is not evidenced in the educational field as it is in other disciplines as well.

In fact, in educational circles, physical education is seen as an extracurricular activity and if there is increased pressure on teachers to improve academic results, often, physical education is the first to be cut-back so that more time is created for other academic activities.

Many researchers are against this sort of trend because they explain that if physical education exposes a positive correlation with academic excellence, then it would no longer be perceived as an extracurricular activity (Grissom, 2005, p. 1).

This study primarily relies on this point of view because apart from the obvious health benefits associated with physical education, there is still a direct link it has to academic excellence.

There has been very minimal research done to establish the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement and those that exist have significant methodology problems that eventually result in the occurrence of significant doubts about their findings.

Those that have had a conclusive finding have, however, suffered the problem of obtaining credible data to support their arguments and therefore, their conclusions are not as strong as they should be.

Nonetheless, one of the main factors why many researchers have hit a dead-end in establishing the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement is because of the fact that it is difficult to obtain valid and reliable measures for both physical fitness and academic excellence. Because of this challenge, this study will make use of the state testing criteria for both variables (academic achievement and physical fitness).

From the understanding of the relationship between academic excellence and physical exercise, educationists can, therefore, be directed on the best channels to direct their resources. Considering the importance of this study in the establishment of positive academic outcomes in schools, this study establishes that there is a positive correlation between physical exercising and academic achievement.

Importance of Understanding the Study

Understanding the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement is very important for educationists and parents alike because it ensures they are aware of the dynamics that relate to the two variables and how it may affect students and children respectively.

Teachers and educationists may find the information quite useful in drawing up an effective program that basically integrates both variables for optimum results (Science Daily, 2010, p. 4). In other words, they can be able to quickly strike a balance between physical and academic activities for optimum results.

This also entails facilitating the development of the right program mixes and policy balances which are overly sensitive to the upheaval of education standards.

Also considering most educators are normally under immense pressure to improve academic performance in light of scarce educational resources, this study’s findings are likely to point such people in the right direction by identifying possible areas of effective resource allocation that will consequently lead to the proper utilization of academic resources (Science Daily, 2010, p. 4).

Time is one such resource and many schools are often faced with the dilemma of allocating time to the most productive functional areas of education.

From the understanding of the contribution physical education brings to academic performance, time can, therefore, be allocated to physical education if it is established that it has a significant contribution to academic performance, or on the contrary, time can be cut back if it is established that it does not have a significant contribution to academic performance.

Since most educators have often been criticized for not providing holistic education and only focused on academic performance, the findings of this study will be useful to educators and policymakers in establishing the extent through which physical education will affect academic performance because physical fitness is an element of learning that encompasses a holistic education demanded by most people (Science Daily, 2010, p. 4).

Moreover, its impact on academic performance will be accurately quantified because academic performance is normally perceived to be the pinnacle of education and most learning institutions would not compromise it if they do not have a correct assessment of the impact physical education has on it (academic success).

Moreover, in today’s current era of increased competition, many learning institutions have been observed to cut back on the time allocated to physical education in order to have a competitive advantage over others institutions and so the information derived from this study will be useful to learning institutions which do not intend to take this strategy while still uphold good academic performance (Science Daily, 2010, p. 4).

Literature Review

The concern about children health has been a new issue of concern not only in educational circles but also in social circles. More so, there have been increased concerns about the increased rate of obesity among children and new research studies presented at the American’s Heart Association forum suggest that physical health concerns among students is correlated to the level of academic achievement (Cottrell, 2010).

There have been closely related research studies done by Cottrell, an educational researcher at Wood County in America who was trying to establish the relationship between body mass index and academic performance.

He suggested that students who had better grades (above average) in Mathematics, science and social studies were in an overall good physical state of fitness while those who were not in functional physical fitness (in a period of two years) performed poorly in academics for the two years studied (Chomitz, 2009, p. 30).

In affirmation of his findings, he explained that “The take-home message from this study is that we want our kids to be fit as long as possible and it will show in their academic performance” (Cottrell, 2010, p. 31). He further reiterated that “But if we can intervene on those children who are not necessarily fit and get them to fit levels physically, we may also see their academic performance increase” (Cottrell, 2010, p. 32).

In complementing these findings, auxiliary studies (still done by Cottrell) suggested that students who regularly took part in physical exercises were bound to have very vibrant adulthood (Cottrell, 2010).

In response to these findings, it was established by the American heart association that students should do at least an hour of physical exercising a day so that they are in a fit position to enhance their youth and improve their academic performance altogether (Science Daily, 2010).

In summing their findings, Medical News (2011) concluded that “The study suggests that focusing more on physical fitness and physical education in school would result in healthier, happier and smarter children” (p. 11). However, studies done by Grissom (2005) expose an interesting underlying premise behind this positive correlation.

In detail, he exposes the fact that the positive correlation between physical fitness and academic success is strongest among female students than males (Grissom, 2005). In the same manner, he observes that the positive correlation between physical fitness and academic achievement is also more evident among higher socioeconomic status than lower strata.

Grissom was also involved in another co relational research study presented in the year 2005 and aimed at investigating the relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness.

The research study affirmed that there was a strong relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement (California Department of Education, 2005, p. 1). This conclusion sought to validate previous research findings which also established the positive correlation between physical fitness and academic achievement.

The study was done with the knowledge that, previous studies established a positive relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness, but it was nevertheless done because previous research evidence acknowledged a missing causal relationship between the two variables.

To support the research’s findings, data relating to a previous physical fitness test undertaken in the state of California during the year 2004 were used. The data used was obtained from the Fitnessgram test, which is the standard California test used to evaluate students’ fitness levels.

The test was administered from February to May of the year 2004 and it was administered to a large sample size of students sought from fifth, seventh and ninth grades. The students were sought from selected public schools in the state of California. With regards to the subject areas studied and the administration time-frame, California Department of Education (2005) explains that,

“The CST scores were measures of academic achievement in English–language arts, mathematics, history-social science, and science. The CSTs were administered in spring 2004 to students in the second grade through the eleventh grade in California public schools” (p. 6).

Before the test was undertaken, the demographical information of the respondents was collected according to the requirements of two testing programs used in the study (PFT and CST). The demographic data was used to create matching files to be equated to the various testing criteria of the PFT and CST.

The files which posed a matching score had to have data relating to a respondent’s fitnessgram test and the CST test. In this regard, it was easier to compare data relating to PFT and CST.

However, the PFT score determined six aspects of a respondent’s fitness including “the aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk strength, upper body strength and flexibility” (California Department of Education, 2005, p. 7).

These parameters abound, the performance of the respondents was determined in two levels, “(1) in the healthy fitness zone, which means students met or exceeded the fitness target, or (2) needs improvement, which means students failed to meet the fitness target” (California Department of Education, 2005, p. 10).

The PFT scores, therefore, ranged from zero to six, meaning that, if a respondent scored one on the fitness score, he or she would only have satisfied one of the fitness criteria. In the same regard, if a respondent scored six on the fitness score, he or she should have satisfied all the fitness criteria guidelines. In finalizing the methodological application of the research, California Department of Education (2005) establishes that:

“Analyses first calculated the mean scale scores for the CST in English–language arts and the CST in mathematics for each overall PFT score. Second, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and linear regression was used to test the statistical significance of the relationship between the overall PFT and achievement scores” (p. 10).

From the above methodology, it was established that, when the PFT scores improved, there was a resultant improvement in the scores of English language test.

It was further established that, for students who did not meet the average scale score of the English language, a score of 311 was recorded on the fitness scale (for fifth graders), while students from the seventh and ninth graders who also satisfied the above requirements scored and average of 300 and 304 ( for seventh and ninth graders respectively). Moreover, the California Department of Education (2005) establishes that:

“The average scale score on the CST in English–language arts for fifth-grade students who achieved all six fitness standards was 355. The same scale score for seventh and ninth graders was 350 and 352, respectively. The change in average scale scores on the CST in English–language arts from those who achieved none of the fitness standards to those who achieved all six was around 50 points” (p. 12).

These test results showed that there was a positive relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement because as one variable increased, so did the other. The mathematics scale scores showed nothing different with the English studies because as the PFT studies improved, the CST scale scores improved as well.

This result shows that, there was a strong consistency in the results evidenced from mathematics and English test scores. However, in determining this outcome, it is essential to acknowledge that the analysis of variance and linear regression was important in establishing the statistical validity of the findings.

In undertaking the research study, there was concern among the researchers to investigate if there were any significant variations in the character of the respondents (which would ultimately affect the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement) (California Department of Education, 2005, p. 16).

In this regard, the population sample was later broken down into subgroups of girls and boys. It was later established that, there was a consistency of outcome in determining the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement because the relationship between fitness and academic achievement was consistent across the genders.

However, though this relationship was considered solid up to this point, it was evidenced that, the change in achievement scores was greater for girls than for boys.

Socioeconomic status was also used as a parameter for establishing the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement and the National school lunch program acted as a proxy for the parameter. Through this proxy, it was established that students who received free lunch came from a lower socioeconomic status and those who did not, came from a higher socioeconomic status.

The same positive relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement was still observed under this parameter, but it was established that the rate of scores in academic achievement was higher for students who were under the National school lunch program as compared to those who were not (California Department of Education, 2005, p. 14).

The outcome of the study was predictably similar for mathematics and English test scores and in the same manner, the results of seventh and fifth-graders were consistent with the results of the fifth graders.

Collectively, the results showed that the positive relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement was stronger for girls than for boys and in the same manner, it was stronger for students from a higher socioeconomic status than for students from a lower socioeconomic status.

The biggest strength for the conclusions derived from this study emanates from the fact that, the researchers used the analysis of variance and linear regression as a test of the statistical difference of the conclusions derived.

Both linear regression and the analysis of variance helped validate the data derived from the findings because linear regression in isolation implements a statistical model that when relationships between independent and dependent relationships almost develop a linear relationship, optimal results will be achieved, but in the same manner, linear relationships can be inappropriately used to model nonlinear relationships if caution is not taken.

Grissom was also involved in another co relational research study (cited in Grissom, 2005) aimed at investigating the relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness.

The objective of this research study was the same as the previous research study cited in this article because it was aimed at evaluating the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement, although different parameters were used.

For instance, although the study used the Fitnessgram test, scores derived from this measure was compared to the standard achievement test which is an independent from of standardized test used to evaluate student performance.

The respondents were also fifth, seventh and ninth graders, just like the previous study, but they amounted to 884,174 students, which was a large sample size for the study. The students were selected from California public schools through the state requirements for the Fitnessgram test.

The large population sampled is a great strength of the study because it is affirmed that, large samples of study add to the credibility of the conclusion to be derived from a study because they expose a lot of variations in the conclusions derived.

Moreover, there are fewer chances of error occurrence when large samples are used. Another strength evidenced from this study is the fact that, it relied on the Fitnessgram test, which is guaranteed by the California law as credible and accurate. In fact, Grissom (2005) explains that:

“…During the month of February, March, April, or May, the governing board of each School district maintaining any of grades five, seven and nine shall administer to each pupil in those grades the physical performance test designated by the state board of education” (p. 19).

These regulations expose the fact that, the Fitnessgram scores were consistent and standardized. Moreover, the Fitnessgram test has several options which ensure that performance tasks are effectively completed with ease. For example, it offered unique features to ensure even disabled students are able to complete the task; the same way, other students do.

This feature ensured that, the conclusion derived from the study was holistic. In this study, the Fitnessgram test was used to measure five fitness aspects: “aerobic capacity, body composition, flexibility, trunk strength, and upper body strength” (Grissom, 2005, p. 19).

In obtaining accurate data for the above parameters, the Fitnessgram test was designed to collect data by requiring students to complete “one option from aerobic capacity, one option from body composition, the curl-up test, the trunk lift test, one option from upper body strength and one option from flexibility” (Grissom, 2005, p. 19).

To add to the strengths of the findings obtained from this research study, it is essential to acknowledge that, the standards envisioned in the Fitnessgram test were validated by the Cooper institute of Aerobics research with the performance classified into two divisions: where students met the healthy division target and where the students failed to meet the fitness target (Grissom, 2005, p. 20).

The score ranged from zero to six; whereby zero meant no target was reached and six meant all targets were attained. In collecting data regarding the Fitnessgram test, PFT and STAR programs were used. As a result, matched files were created; whereby data regarding the matched files were used to account for the PFT scores and standardized achievement scores.

The standardized test came in handy during the collection of demographical information regarding the respondents because information such as the birth date and gender were clearly documented. However, in the collection of such demographical data, there was a slight possibility of the occurrence of errors as is explained by Grissom (2005) that:

“As such, these data were used to evaluate the relationship between overall scores on the PFT and the standardized achievement tests. There could be errors in the matching process, but there was no reason to believe matching errors biased the results” (p. 20).

The study also established that, the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement was consistently positive; meaning that, as the scores in the fitness scale improved, the scores in the academic scale also improved.

The researchers also did a subgroup study on the different demographical parameters of the sample population and consequently came up with socioeconomic status and gender as the defining parameters.

The criteria to segregate the population along socioeconomic lines was the same as the previous 2005 study mentioned in this article because it was established that, students who enrolled in the school lunch feeding program was from a lower socioeconomic status and those who did not, were from a higher socioeconomic status.

In this regard, the study established that, the intensity of the relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness was stronger for female respondents than male respondents and therefore, in the same manner; the relationship was stronger in higher socioeconomic groups as opposed to lower socioeconomic groups. Nonetheless, the researchers identified that:

“there may be other mental aspects attributed to the improvement in academic performance than just physical fitness. The average test score by way of PFT was an average of the indicator relationship between fitness and achievement but to validate the statistical significance of the findings, the analysis of variance was used to validate the relationship between overall PFT score and the achievement scores” (Grissom, 2005, p. 21).

Only students who had complete sores on the PFT tests had their results tabulated because there would have been some inconsistencies observed in the conclusions if there were test results below six included in the findings.

If this was done, it would mean that, there would be incomplete test scores included in the study and this would have dented the validity of the study because the minimal competency for the study would not have been attained.

ANOVA tests affirmed that there was a statistically significant relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement. However, it was acknowledged that, this positive correlation was also subject to other variables not mentioned in the study.

For example, it was established that the positive correlation between physical fitness and academic achievement in students from higher socioeconomic groups could have been brought about by the fact that, children from a higher socioeconomic status have better health, hail from a background of higher academic achievement and generally live in better human conditions which probably contribute to their better physical fitness levels (Grissom, 2005).

On the other hand, students who hail from a lower socioeconomic status are more likely to suffer family turmoil, and their households are bound to be more unstable when compared to students hailing from a higher socioeconomic status.

Such students are also likely to live in deplorable conditions which ultimately affect their health and have less social supportive networks. Generally, they are also likely to have less cognitive enriching environments because of a collection of the above factors or a combination of two or more factors (Grissom, 2005, p. 22).

In the same regard, it was established that, despite the positive correlation between physical fitness and academic achievement, causality cannot be established from this relationship. Grissom (2005) explains that:

“There was no time or logical ordering that automatically leads from one event to the other. It is just as logical to believe that mental capacity affects physical ability. For example, there is evidence that mental stress can lower the effectiveness of the immune system” (p. 21).

From this analysis, it was affirmed that, the study only represented a preliminary analysis into the relationship existing between academic achievement and physical fitness, but it was also affirmed that the study’s findings presented an excellent ground for the development of future models and theories defining the relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness.

Experimental designs were also identified to fail to expose the causality underlying various co relational relationships because they were assumed to be premature and bound to fail to expose the underlying factors affecting the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement.

This fact was supported by the assumption that, it was extremely difficult to increase academic achievement in subsequent time-frames (Grissom, 2005). Nonetheless, these insights were not an argument against experimental designs because conclusively, the study established that, there was a positive relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness.

Other research studies done to dig deeper into the specific areas of academic achievement showed that academic achievement was noted to improve most in mathematics and science subjects. In the same studies, it was established that there was no significant improvement in performance of subjects other than the two.

For instance, in Canada, it was established that an increase of physical exercises of one hour each day resulted in a significant improvement in mathematics scores for second, third, fourth, fifths and sixth graders (Chomitz, 2009, p. 35).

It was also established that there was no significant changes of academic performance in other subject areas. However, for some reason, the studies caution users from making direct conclusions about the positive correlation between physical exercising and mathematics.

New York City’s health department has also reiterated the fact that physically fit students are bound to outperform their colleagues who are sedentary when it comes to academic performance.

These findings had been derived from research studies evaluating the relationship among high school students using the state’s test measurement criterion – the NYC Fitnessgram (Harutyunyan, 2009, p. 1). The study was necessitated by the rising obesity levels among children in New York.

The statistics exposed that about 21% of students at kindergarten level (all through to the 8th grade) were obese and comprehensively, it was estimated that the city’s total student population had an obesity prevalence rate of approximately 18% (Harutyunyan, 2009, p. 1).

It was estimated that children who highly performed on both variables in the NYC fitness score tremendously outperformed those who got a poor score in the fitness program scale. The difference was characterized by 36 percentile points (Harutyunyan, 2009, p. 1).

After it was established that there was a positive correlation between physical activities and academic excellence, the city’s educational administrators decided to sensitize parents on the benefits of eating healthy foods and allocating at least 60 minutes a day of their children’s time to exercising.

A number of activities were identified as appropriate exercises parents could encourage their children to engage in (they included, cycling, dancing skipping the rope, playing basketball, or even taking a simple walk). Among these factors, a host of other recommendations were identified to be helpful in improving the students’ activity levels.

They included limiting the time students spent on the computers (and more so the internet). This also included television and video game use. The second recommendation advanced to parents was to prepare healthy foods for their children, such as vegetables and fruits, at least two times a day.

It was also recommended that the children should not drink beverages that have a lot of calories like sodas or juice; instead they should consume low-fat milk and water. Parents were also advised to encourage their children to avoid unhealthy foods and consider the healthy foods and diets provided at school.

The above findings can be explained by Scheuer (2003, p. 3) who identifies the fact that physical exercises significantly boost students’ brain nourishment, and revitalizes the students’ brain function to eventually increase the student’s ability to perform well in cognitive learning exercises.

Complimentary findings have also established that physical exercising among students increases students’ self-esteem, concentration and encourages better behavior, thereby leading to an increased positive attitude among students who fall within this category (Bailey, 2000, p. 75).

However, there has not been a strong relationship established to link the above-mentioned factors with excellent academic performance, although it is presumed that students with high self-esteem, better behavior and high concentration levels are likely to perform better than those who do not share the same attributes.

However, it has been affirmed that physical exercising is bound to increase academic achievement more effectively in the short run rather than the long run. Interesting studies done on older adults note that physical activity is likely to increase cognitive function among this group of students, in the same way, it does younger students (Scheuer, 2003, p. 3).

This observation, therefore, explains the findings observed by Cottrell because it was further established that physical exercising was bound to increase brain attributes which facilitated increased cerebral blood flow in the brain (which obviously complimented cognitive learning) (Corbin, 2010, p. 64).

In addition, it was also established that increased physical exercising was bound to improve hormonal imbalance and therefore, instances of better nutritional intake among students were bound to be boosted.

This observation was seconded by research studies cited in (Medical News, 2011) which suggested that “a trio of studies presented at the 2001 Society for Neuroscience Conference suggest that regular exercise can improve cognitive function and increase levels of substances in the brain responsible for maintaining the health of neurons” (p. 2).

These findings are also supported by other similar findings by Darla Castelli, an American professor in Illinois (cited in Medical News, 2011) who establishes that “students’ total fitness, as measured by passing all 5 components of the Fitnessgram, positively correlated with academic achievement, measured by the standardized Illinois State Achievement Test, particularly Mathematics and Science” (p. 5).

Brain functions were further identified to improve significantly due to increased physical exercises because there were increased instances of energy generation brought about by physical exercises because physical exercises provided a break from the boring classroom environment, therefore resulting in higher attention levels among students. In conclusion to these findings, Medical News (2011) recommends that:

“Enhanced brain function, energy levels, body builds/perceptions, self-esteem, and behavior have been attributed to physical activity and to improved academic performance.

One cannot make direct correlations from the information offered. However, it is obvious that many positive relationships have been suggested. Perhaps instead of decreasing physical activity, school officials should consider developing enhanced physical activity programs” (p. 3).

Studies were done by John Gardner center (cited in Gardner, 2009, p. 1) also show a positive correlation between physical fitness and academic performance based on demographical factors. Comprehensively, they identify that students who managed to pass the California Physical fitness test also showed similar higher performance in the state’s standardized test (Rahl, 2010, p. 81).

It was further established that the positive relationship exhibited between physical exercising and positive academic outcomes did not start at the time the studies were done, but at a year before the studies were undertaken. Moreover, upon close follow-up of the research, it was established that the same observations were evidenced throughout the academic life of the studied students (Gardner, 2009, p. 1).

Since the study was undertaken within two years, it was affirmed that students who showed increased physical activity between their fifth and seventh grades showed a significant increase in academic achievement as well, but the opposite was observed with students whose physical fitness declined within the two years.

However, it was established that the academic achievement observed among highly fit students was only evident when general fitness was studied and not a specific fitness measure (Gardner, 2009, p. 1).

Regardless of the conclusions derived from the above findings, it should not be assumed that physical fitness is the magical solution to students who do not enjoy the high academic performance (Biddle, 2008, p. 186). For instance, students who take part in educational programs hampered by limited facilities cannot enjoy high academic excellence even if they are physically fit.

To reiterate this sentiment, Biddle (2008) notes that “We’re not suggesting that if we run more laps, it will make us smarter…but there does appear to be a correlation” (p. 4). This fact, therefore, implies that academic achievement is just one segment of the academic achievement puzzle.

Because of the interesting intrigues about physical fitness and academic achievement, it is affirmed that a number of strategies can be adopted to improve students’ fitness even though a learning institution may be faced with other educational problems such as a lack of resources.

For starters, learning institutions should endeavor to maximize existing opportunities in the school curriculum to improve the physical fitness of the students. This can be achieved by making use of the instructional time available for teachers in effecting physical education through the integration of physical fitness activities with other subject activities (Gardner, 2009, p. 1).

This recommendation has been touted by many educationists after it was established that students find the above strategy quite beneficial if the instructional time is used to undertake a given rigorous activity. Another alternative could be revamping the conventional school menu to give room for healthier diets (especially if there is very limited time to allocate for traditional physical exercising).

Expanding partnerships between communities and learning institutions has also been advanced as one way through which institutions of learning can provide fitness related programming which is out of the boundaries of normal instructional time (Gardner, 2009, p. 1).

The partnerships can be forged with community foundations, organization and even the state, through existing sport programs that may be beneficial to the students. Lastly, learning institutions can pursue a strategy of engaging the community to increase physical activity among the students.

The community also includes parental involvement which is very important in the exercise because parents normally wield a lot of control on their children and most of them are also mentors to their children in their own light.


This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge, which identifies that there is a positive correlation between physical fitness and academic achievement.

It is also important to note that most of the empirical evidence gathered in this study is derived from a number of socioeconomic parameters across the globe, meaning that the same conclusions have been evidenced in a number of places around the world and across a number of demographical strata.

There is a stronger evidence of a positive relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement when analyzed in a number of subjects but more especially mathematics and sciences. The reason this observation is stronger in this group of subjects is not yet established and perhaps this should be the new frontier for future research studies.

Although not many studies bother to touch on the real factors behind the positive relationship between physical exercising and academic performance, there is already speculation among educational circles that personal motivation may be a factor to watch considering physical exercising may actually portray a sense of personal achievement which may be mirrored through academic achievement (Chomitz, 2009, p. 35).

This means that students who are highly motivated at a personal level may as well strive to expose the same in physical exercising as well as academic excellence.

Secondly, there has been speculation that physical activity may actually be a mirror of overall fitness of health where factors like nutrition, physical and weight status may actually portray a healthy student and such parameters are likely to lead to high academic achievement.

This would essentially mean that academic achievement is probably evidenced because of overall good health as opposed to physical activity per se. In fact, there are already existing research studies exposing the link between good health and high academic achievement where factors like weight status, food sufficiency and such as general health status have been studied.

This should be analyzed as its own distinct area of study and therefore, its conclusions should not be augmented when analyzing physical fitness as a distinct, independent variable.

However, it should also be acknowledged that various socioeconomic parameters play a significant role in the increase of academic standards. This analysis is essential because numerous studies have consistently mentioned the input of a student’s background because it extensively determines students’ academic performance.

This also poses as a new area of research considering the relationship between physical fitness and academic performance could be done based on various socioeconomic statuses.

Conclusively, this study points out that there is a positive correlation between physical exercising and academic achievement. Expressly, it also identifies how learning institutions can be able to maximize this benefit through partnerships, effective utilization of institutional time and such like factors.

Allocating at least an hour a day to physical exercises is a commendable move according to medical experts because it improves brain activity and this consequently leads to an improvement of academic standards.

Thus, in light of the positive influences physical activities have on academic progression it is in order to recommend that learning institutions should allocate more time to physical activities to improve educational performance because there is an obvious positive correlation between physical exercising and academic achievement.


Bailey, R. (2000). Teaching Physical Education 5-11. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Biddle, S. (2008). Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Well-Being, and Interventions. London: Routledge.

California Department of Education. (2005) A Study of the Relationship Between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement in California Using 2004 Test Results. Web.

Chomitz, V. (2009). Is There a Relationship between Physical Fitness And Academic Achievement? Positive Results from Public School Children in the Northeastern United States. Journal of School Health, 79(1), 30-36.

Corbin, C. (2010). Fitness for Life: Elementary School Guide for Wellness Coordinators. New York: Human Kinetics.

Cottrell. (2010). ; Organized Physical Activity. Web.

Gardner, J. (2009). Exploring the Link between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement. Web.

Grissom, J. (2005). Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 8(1), 11-24.

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Kirk, D. (2006). The Handbook of Physical Education. London: SAGE. Medical News. (2011). . Web.

Rahl, R. (2010). Physical Activity and Health Guidelines: Recommendations for Various Ages, Fitness Levels, and Conditions from 57 Authoritative Sources. New York: Human Kinetics.

Scheuer, L. J. (2003). Does Physical Activity Influence Academic Performance? Web.

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Work Cited

"Academic Achievement and Physical Fitness." IvyPanda, 14 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/academic-achievement-and-physical-fitness-thesis/.

1. IvyPanda. "Academic Achievement and Physical Fitness." December 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/academic-achievement-and-physical-fitness-thesis/.


IvyPanda. "Academic Achievement and Physical Fitness." December 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/academic-achievement-and-physical-fitness-thesis/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Academic Achievement and Physical Fitness." December 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/academic-achievement-and-physical-fitness-thesis/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Academic Achievement and Physical Fitness'. 14 December.

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