When it comes to teaching too little attention is paid to how diet and exercise can improve performance in the classroom for many students. While teaching methods, materials and examination practice is critical, it’s important to go beyond a mere linear approach. Ensuring students employ healthy eating and regular exercise outside of school time will not only give the obvious benefits, but it will also lead to improved results in the classroom.  

Exercise For the Brain

How Exercise and a Healthy Diet can Improve Performance in the ClassroomPeople often think that the best way to ‘exercise’ the brain is by consistently training it with mental obstacles and challenges, such as mock examinations, pop quizzes, ‘brain training exercises’ or simply by doing a crossword.

Of course, these will all help. But good old-fashioned physical exercise is also an important factor in ensuring your brain performs at optimal levels. ‘Healthy body, healthy mind.’ The past decade of medical research has released a wealth of new information that points to this.

For instance, we now know that exercise leads to the creation of nerve cells. This means that students that exercise will literally have more brain power than those who are prefer to be couch potatoes.

Exercise and the brain is also more than just about learning. Exercise also helps us in creating the optimal environment for learning, which is just as important. Students that do a healthy amount of physical activity have been shown as having superior mood levels, reduced anger, as well as lower tension and fatigue.

Your Brain = Body’s Engine

Think of the brain as an engine – you need to feed it the best fuel possible in order to get optimal performance. Cans of Red Bull or other similar energy drinks are not the answer.How Exercise and a Healthy Diet can Improve Performance in the Classroom

The brain needs the right foods, just like any other part of your body. Athletes structure their eating habits vey carefully and the same logic applies to performance in the classroom. So, get your so-called ‘super foods’ together and get going:

  • Oily Fish – There’s a reason doctors advise you to include plenty of fish in your diet. Fish contains omega-3 fats, essential for optimal brain function.
  • Blueberries – Tufts University has recently released a study where eating blueberries was linked to improving short-term memory performance.
  • Blackcurrants – With blackcurrants, you’re talking an instant boost in mental agility through an injection of Vitamin C.
  • Pumpkin Seeds – You’ll often see students munching on these during those long days at the library. They give you a healthy dosage of zinc, which enhances your memory and analytical skills.
  • Broccoli – Vitamin K, which broccoli carries in abundance, will improve your cognitive capabilities.

Good overall eating habits will ensure students don’t have to deal with side effects of poor diets. Too much sugar or caffeine, for example, will make students either too energetic or jittery, or you’ll have to deal with the unavoidable lows that quickly follow.

A healthy diet and solid exercise routines provide a powerful one-two punch. Not only will students see a marked improvement in classroom performance, but they’ll also see benefits in their lives in general.

Alex DyerAlex Dyer  is a private tutor at Tutor House; one of London’s leading private tutoring agencies offering bespoke tuition and educational support for student’s aged between 11 – 18 years old.

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How Exercise and a Healthy Diet can Improve Performance in the Classroom