Academic Exercise Essay

1536 Words7 Pages
Thesis: Exercise can help improve academic performance.
Many people associate exercise with its effects on the body, but fail to think about its effects in other aspects. Exercise, although it helps make one stronger, can also help one do better in school. Physical activity causes one to feel energized, awake, and alert. Exercise promotes better sleep, as well as improves mood and brain functions. As a result, students are able to perform better academically.
Exercise promotes better sleep
It is general knowledge that students need a lot of sleep in order to do well in school. When students get enough sleep, they are able to think clearly, be in a positive mood, and focus on the material. Exercise is one way to get better sleep.
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One of the many functions of the brain is to go through the process of neurogenesis, which is the growth and development of nerve cells in the dentate gyrus region of the hippocampus (Suzuki, 110). The dentate gyrus is the subdivision in the hippocampus where all new neurons are born. The hippocampus is responsible for a wide range of memory tasks such as: “spatial maze tasks, memory-delay tasks, recognition-memory tasks, and a range of memory-encoding tasks” (Suzuki, 111). Exercise directly affects this area of the brain so that these functions are radically improved. In recent experiments, rats grew up in an enriched environment, which is an environment where they can socialize, exercise, and have stimulating toys. As a result of an environment that encouraged exercise, the rodents’ brains became physically larger, neurons were able to receive and process greater amounts of information, and there were higher levels of good brain chemicals and growth factors such as the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which regulates learning and memory, and the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF (Suzuki, 18). During development, BDNF supports the survival and growth of neurons, which allow the brain to process information (Suzuki, 109). From these animal studies, scientists conclude that exercise has similar effects on the human brain, such as increasing the number of neurons and strengthen their connections in the hippocampus (Suzuki, 110-111). A test of 27 healthy male student athletes found that their ability to learn vocabulary was 20% faster after high impact anaerobic sprints in comparison to low impact aerobic running or being inactive. The intense physical activity also produced the strongest increases in BDNF, which were related to better short-term learning success. Exercise also produced higher absolute dopamine levels that correlate with intermediate

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