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Benefits of Physical Education, Fitness, Sport
and Recreation on School Performance
Academic Achievement
  • Studies show that athletes typically do better academically than nonathletes.
  • Sixth graders who engaged in vigorous exercise did approximately 10% better on their academic scores in core subjects when compared to other sixth graders who participated in lower intensity exercise. (August, 2006, Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise).
  • The Trois Riviere Study in Canada found that even though academic class time was cut 13 to 14% because of increased physical education time, students who had daily physical education did better academically than those who did not.
  • The Clovis Unified School District in California saw the percentage of students working at grade level jump from 55% to 80% a year after starting a physical education program.
  • A study conducted by the state of California showed that children who passed (or had higher scores) more fitness test measures had higher academic achievement test scores.


  • Those who exercise generally have keener memories and are sharper mentally than those who do not.
  • The number of blood vessels nourishing the brain improves by up to 20% after four weeks of aerobic training.
  • People score higher on creativity tests on days they exercise than on days they do not.
Drop-Out Rates
  • Students who are involved in extracurricular activities are significantly less likely to drop out of school. One study found that over 93% of high school drop-outs did not participate in after-school activities. Another found that 97% did not.
  • A North Dakota study of students at 30 schools found that every single student involved in extracurricular activities stayed in school.
  • Students who are involved in extracurricular activities typically miss fewer than half the number of school days than those who are not.
  • People who exercise get sick less often than their sedentary peers. One study found that women who exercised at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week were less than half as likely to become sick than those who did not.
  • A Japanese study found that those who exercised missed almost 50% less work due to illness and injury.