Studies in Australia and overseas suggest that students who are more physically active are more likely to achieve academically. Scientists believe there is a strong link between physical activity and increased brain growth factors, which have been shown to stimulate learning.
This is not to say that a student needs to be a sports star to be an academic achiever—taking part in any regular physical activity or sport is the key. The positive effect is not just on academic success either, but also on attitude and self-esteem.
Of course, the general health benefits of regular physical activity are widely known, so encouraging your teen to get involved in a community sport or exercise class is likely to make them happier, healthier and brighter. The benefits of drinking water regularly, a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep also supports take-up of regular exercise and increases mental clarity for learning.
No particular sports or activities are better than others. In short, anything that encourages regular physical activity will make a positive difference—from team sports such as football, netball and cricket to individual activities such as tennis, cycling, rock climbing, ballet and skateboarding.