Science Behind Fitness4Finals


Now that Finals week is coming up, students are spending all their time finishing up classes and studying for their big tests. Aside from caffeine and hours of studying, another important factor that should not be forgotten when studying for finals is physical activity. Fitness4Finals is a campus wide event that happens during study week that promotes physical activity in students as they go through their finals. The event consists of various activities such as yoga, meditation, and fun physical activities that get students moving and involved. Based on a study by Dr. John Ratey, Fitness4Finals aims to promote physical activity to get the students prepared for studying for their finals.


Fitness4Finals stems from the idea of promoting fitness to improve overall academic performance. Dr. John Ratey, author of Spark, studies this concept and discusses the benefits of activity on school performance. The idea behind Dr. Ratey’s book is that physical activity sparks changes in the brain chemistry of students. These changes, in turn, promote positive connections that help the brain learn. Essentially, these changes lead to better adaptations which lead to better responses to stresses such as tests. As seen in the students in Spark, Dr. Ratey noticed a positive correlation with higher physical activity and classroom behaviors. He saw that students who had higher fitness levels had better attentions spans which eventually lead to better test results. He saw that within these students, there was a positive response to mistakes. The students were more eager to slow down to make sure that they could avoid getting mistake and get the next question right. Students with higher fitness levels had better decision making skills as they chose to slow down and pay attention to their task. Additionally, a higher fitness level was also linked to students who had higher GPA and better results in standardized testing.


Putting aside positive academic results, regular exercise provides the body with other benefits. With regular exercise, the body learns to use energy effectively. Not only that, social aspects are also seen to improve. Dr. Ratey saw a positive  correlation with students who engaged in exercise and an increase in the way they socialize.  There is also an improvement with self esteem that stems from students being active.



Events like Fitness4Finals where students are invited to participate in fitness events are perfect to promote the healthy benefits of exercise. Performing physical activity in a fun, enriching environment where everyone is invited to participate is the best way to get students involved. Varying class, activities, and providing students with healthy alternatives for dealing with stress promotes Dr. Ratey’s ideas. Ultimately, physical activity was seen to make changes in students both physically and mentally. These changes then radiate and affect how they behave, think, and learn. Exercise and physical activity helps students enter an environment where the brain is prepared, willing, and able to learn and adapt. 



Activities available in Fitness4Finals