“In these economic times when schools have it rough, when districts have it rough, then the first thing that gets cut is the very thing that could probably help the kids in school more than cutting it out, right?” says Dr. Jon Gary, a member of CrossFit Kids. “So P.E. gets eliminated from schools, and that is one aspect of how they can actually improve their performance in schools.”
Gary looked into exercise and learning and was disheartened to find so little exercise in schools. Then he found some success stories, one from a second-grade teacher in San Diego who uses CrossFit Kids. With 30 minutes a day—as opposed to her district’s requirement of 50 minutes every six weeks—her students greatly improved their proficiency in math and English.
Harnessing the brain after exercise has positive results. While exercise alone won’t make you smarter, Gary says it improves “the processing power of your brain.” In the studies on brain function after exercise, executive function, creativity and memory all improve.
CrossFit Kids HQ at CrossFit Brand X in Ramona, Calif., builds study time into their teen classes. Says Gary: “What we want to do is have them study their worst subject—something that they don’t particularly like—and this is a time of attention, a time of maximal uptake ... that is where I think we’re going to see the benefits across lots of domains in the classroom rather than on the exercise field.”
Additional reading: How to Build a Better Neural Highway by Cyndi Rodi, published April 2, 2009.