The jock is not dumb after all
The stereotypical “dumb jock” label was apparently completely off the mark. And the fact that my athletic son, the one who pitched his high school baseball team into the playoffs, served as a junior marshal, graduated with honors and is now a college graduate all makes perfect sense according to a new study.
CNN recently reported that a study published in August suggests there is a correlation between being physically fit and higher scholastic aptitude. The study specifically noticed an increased ability in math, although other studies suggest physical fitness is related to better academic achievement all around.
So what should we do as schools with shrinking budgets limit physical activity opportunities during the school day? You can lobby for more physical fitness classes, but with the curriculum demands currently in place, you could be a grandparent before you see significant results. There are more immediate ways to ensure your kids receive the academic benefits of being physically fit.
The cheapest way is to stay active as a family. Play outside. Take after dinner walks. Jog together. Play Frisbee. Everyone could use a break from the technology as well as some time in the fresh air. Another study I happened across also suggests farm children are less likely than city and town children to develop allergies and asthma. My guess is it’s because they are outside getting dirty and breathing in fresh air — with all its glorious seasonal allergens — a lot more often than other kids.
We took full advantage of our parks and recreation system as soon as the boys were old enough to play. It’s an inexpensive way to enjoy team sports and other physical activities year round. For ten years, our social lives revolved around ball fields and gyms. And if you want a little more balance in your own life, there are adult leagues as well. Invite the grandparents to watch the kids on the sidelines while you compete in a friendly game of softball.
Enrichment classes like dance, gymnastics, skills camps and the like are a pricier way to go. However, if you have an enthusiast and can budget for the enrollment fees and accessories, it is a solid investment. Even if you don’t raise an Olympic champion or professional athlete, you are still giving your child an edge when it comes to academic performance. And children who are high achievers in school are more likely to land scholarships, realize college success and enjoy a bright future.