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Better Grades Through Exercise - February 2012

Study reveals exercising leads to better GPAs

College is not always easy. Many students struggle under the pressure to get good grades and make it on their own, sometimes leaving them drained and exhausted. But, there is a solution. According to a study presented to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercising both helps relieve your student's anxiety and leads to better grades.

It has been long suggested that exercising and higher grades are connected, but researchers at Saginaw Valley State University decided to test this theory. After looking at the study and exercise habits of 266 students, the research revealed those who exercised vigorously seven days a week had higher GPAs than those who did not. On a 4.0 scale, the students who exercised had GPAs that were on average 0.4 points higher.

"Each time you work out, endorphins kick in and make you feel better," Assistant Director for Baylor Fitness & Nutrition Education Van Davis said. "Exercising also gives you more energy. If you work out before you study, for even just 30 minutes, you are going to be able to focus more on your studies afterward."

Baylor provides many solutions to help students stay physically fit. Along with the swimming pool, rock climbing wall and racquetball courts, there are more than 80 group fitness classes ranging from yoga to cycling. These are offered at the McLane Student Life Center as early as 6 a.m. to as late as 9 p.m. throughout the week to allow students to come to the class that fits their schedule.

"If students can find something that is fun for them, then they don't see it as exercising. They're going to go do something that they enjoy, but in the meantime, they are still moving their body," Davis said.

Students also can take advantage of the Human Performance classes required for most degree plans. Classes range from traditional sports such as volleyball or soccer to more unique courses such as self defense and tai chi. This allows students a guaranteed time to work out while also earning class credit. According to Davis, students need to be active two to five days a week for at least an hour. Whether they are working out on their own, with a personal trainer or with 10 of their closest friends, staying physically fit provides both physical and academic benefits.

"In order to achieve more academically, to serve others well and to have the energy necessary to be successful at work, you need to be physically active," Davis said. "The more fit you are, the better outlook on life you are going to have."

For more information on Baylor's many fitness programs and services, please visit Campus Recreation's website.