Do Sweaty Students Make Better Students? The Connection Between Exercise and Better Grades

By Mathew Jade

It’s no secret that college students have jam-packed schedules. There are classes to attend, assignments to submit and socialization to be done. It’s hard enough to find time to sleep, let alone squeeze in regular exercise. You may ask why it’s important – there will be plenty of time to get fit once college is over, right?  However, what I was taught during my MBA, and what has long been taught in all top-notch business schools, is now being backed by scientific evidence: Regular exercise does not just keep you physically fit but also provides important cognitive benefits that can help you perform better in class – or in pretty much any setting where you need to use your brain cells.

Healthy Lifestyle Seamless Pattern

So how exactly does exercise help? Let me elaborate

  • Exercise acts as a stimulant for brain cell development

For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence on how exercise affects brainpower. Recent experiments have proved that there is a definite relationship between exercise and improved cognitive abilities.

For example, the New York Times published the results of a study led by Justin. S. Rhodes, a psychology professor in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois. His study involved running experiments on four groups of mice. The mice who were given exercise wheels had marked improvements in brainpower. Mice exercising had more neurons – that is, brain cells – than those which did not.  In addition, the mice exercising regularly had developed more complex connections between neurons, meaning they could think faster.  Substitute a treadmill for a hamster wheel, and there’s a good chance you’ll see better grades over time.

  • Exercise will help you be more focused

A Canadian school that caters to learning-disabled and ADHD children carried out an experiment in 2009, in which children exercised for 20 minutes on treadmills or exercise bikes before starting math lessons. Teachers noted a marked improvement in students’ concentration levels, information retaining capabilities, and their overall motivation to study.

  • Exercise relieves stress

We all know college is a stressful time. It’s a challenge to get enough sleep, and there’s tons of work to do. Exercise, even if it is 15 minutes a day (high intensity, enough to jack up your heart rate and breath) leads to the release of endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that keep stress at bay. So exercise can reduce stress and help you work your way through college more effectively.

Exercise is very important in college. Not only will it keep your brain sharp, but it will also help you stay physically fit. It’s common for students to suffer from the “Freshman 15” – that is, the 15 pounds freshmen pack on in the first year due to limited exercise and unhealthy diet. And following an exercise regime is something you should do for life. For example, Hong Kong business magnate Allan Zeman does 90 minutes of exercise every morning without fail; Zeman once made a U.S. president wait so he could complete his daily exercise routine.

About the author: Mathew Jade is a passionate blogger who loves to write on Economics and finance-related topics. For further updates follow @Mathew_Jade


Looking for more mind-brain study tips?  Check out The Secrets of Top Students, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Building Healthy Lifestyle Habits in College (Guest Post)

By Dorothy Richardson
Parent, wellness coach, DIY guru

The college experience is formative not just in terms of education, but also in terms of lifestyle. As students move away from their childhood homes for the first time, they have complete control over every facet of their day. What they eat, when they sleep, how much they party, when (or if) they do their homework is all up to them. While this can be a great learning experience for young adults, it also presents potential downfalls if poor lifestyle habits are adopted. Those habits can carry on into adulthood and have negative effects on short and long-term health. With that in mind, college students should make a concerted effort to build healthy lifestyle habits while still in school. Here are four ways to preserve physical and mental health, both now and in the future.

Healthy Lifestyle Seamless Pattern

Establish a Regular Sleep Routine

A regular sleep schedule has numerous positive effects on a college student’s health. According to Scholarships.com, students who get 7 to 9 hours of sleep on a regular basis experience improved concentration and reduced fatigue. Those students may also experience a reduced appetite, which can help combat college weight gain. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note, the ill-effects of poor sleep can be severe; teenagers and young adults may suffer from poor academic performances, depression and increased social difficulties.

Unchain Yourself and Get Active

College students can spend long stretches of time sitting in class and studying at their desk. But prolonged sitting can come with consequences. Sitting for long periods with poor posture can place excessive stress on the back, leading to muscular pain and even conditions like spinal stenosis. Students should take breaks throughout their study sessions to get up and get active. Students should also be mindful of how heavy backpacks, poor diets, excessive screen time and other variables can affect their back health, according to Laser Spine Wellness. For tips and features on back health, check out online videos and resources offered by Laser Spine Institute on their Youtube channel.

Avoid Excessive Drinking

Drinking is a common pastime among college students, but it can have damaging consequences both while in college and years into the future. For one, excessive binge drinking can cause damage to the liver and other organs. Heavy drinkers face an increased risk of alcoholism, and it increases the risk of both alcohol poisoning and sexually transmitted diseases and other problems compounded by poor decision making, according to the CDC. And new research coming out of Harvard University suggests excessive drinking during the college years can actually increase an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life, while moderate drinking (up to 3 drinks nightly) can reduce this risk.

When Stress and Sadness Overwhelm, Seek Professional Help

Maintaining mental health can be a serious challenge for many college students. High stress, fluctuating moods, homesickness and depression can all create challenging obstacles to overcome. Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer free or low-cost mental health services to students in need. Students should take advantage of these services to mitigate the negative affects of their mental health conditions. By seeking out professional help, students can develop coping skills that will help them manage their current problems and even give them the tools to handle similar situations in the future.


Learn how to get great grades and stay healthy with The Secrets of Top Students.  Order your copy today!