Students who work out at their campus recreation facilities perform better in school, according to new research from Purdue University.
Researchers found that students who worked out at their campus gym at least once a week were more likely to have a higher grade-point average than students who worked out less frequently or not at all.
"Students who are motivated by fitness and wellness tend to have better time management skills, and research shows that being fit is good for the mind. It all ties together," Tricia Zelaya, assistant director for student development and assessment at Purdue's Division of Recreational Sports, said in a news release issued by the university. "Student success research shows that engaged students do better academically, and we see that when they come here with their friends as well as classmates or study groups."
University officials tracked students checking in to the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center with their student identification numbers during the spring 2010 semester and found students who visited the facility at least 16 times a month had an average GPA of 3.10 or higher. Those who worked out at least seven times per month averaged a slightly lower GPA of 3.06. The average GPA for Purdue students during the 2009-2010 school year was 2.86.
"Some might assume time at a gym is a distraction from academics, but it is really part of the learning landscape," Zelaya said.
Zelaya adds that Purdue, like many universities, has recognized the importance of recreation in student life and retention. Purdue spent $98 million renovating its center in 2011 and 2012. The now 355,000-square-foot facility reopened last October and includes an indoor hockey and soccer court, racquetball and wallyball courts and a cycling center.