Research has consistently demonstrated a link between physical activity and learning functions such as mood, learning, and memory. Activities such as running, dancing, and team sports stimulate the growth of new neurons, the primary neurological process associated with learning. As such, schools should include regular physical activity as part of their daily schedule.
Students who participate in 30 to 60 minutes of physical exercise experience elevated levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. Physical activity also increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and stimulates production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF), which promote the differentiation of neurons in brain areas associated with learning and memory. Outside of the neurological context, physical activity is associated with lower dropout rates, decreased absenteeism, and improved social connectedness.