How many of you are resolving to do better in school this year? I’m also inclined to believe that your New Year’s Resolution has something to do with diet or fitness. Why not go for a two-for-one New Year’s Resolution deal? Seriously though, new research suggests that girls who walk (or bike) to school not only reap the physical rewards of exercise, but they also perform better on tests.
The results of the study prove that commuting to school through physical activity (as opposed to a car or bus ride) gives girls a more competitive edge in the classroom. The more time spent walking or biking to school also equaled greater improvement. Those who walked more than 15 minutes scored higher on tests than the girls who walked less than a 15 minute commute. The findings held their credibility even after compensating for overall fitness and age.
Improved test scores could be due to the fact that walking and biking to school provides increased blood flow to the brain, not to mention additional time to reflect on the test to come. It’s widely accepted that exercise increases mental faculties. Memory, clarity and concentration are among the many brain functions that are said to be improved by exercising. It seems only logical that this would translate to higher test scores when taken advantage of first thing in the morning.
It doesn’t explain why it works for girls but not boys, however. Perhaps men and women simply experience different short-term exercise benefits. It’s speculated that a difference in brain chemistry and hormones could be to blame. That’s not to say that men won’t benefit from exercise (because that couldn’t be further from the truth!), just that these particular studies found no correlation between boys who walk to school and boys who score high on tests.
So, if you’re looking for a way to stick to two very different resolutions (get fit and excel academically) then walk to school. Two birds with one stone. Happy New Year!