Joining Gym Helps College Students Improve Grades, Study

First Posted: Jul 12, 2014 05:39 AM EDT

College students might want to try a new way of improving grades - spending more time in the gym.

A team of researchers from the Michigan State University offered a solution to students who are currently not achieving the grades they hoped for. According to them, spending more time in the library or study hall alone doesn't help boost grades, but rather spending more time in the gym.

The study shows that students, who were members of recreational sports and fitness centers on the campus during their freshman and sophomore years, had higher grade point averages (GPA) when compared to those who did not have any membership.

The researchers also found that students who had gym memberships, stayed for longer duration in school and their retention rate in two-years increased by 3.5 percent.

"That could equate to about 1,575 people within a student population of 49,000 deciding to move on to a third year of school," James Pivarnik, a professor of kinesiology and epidemiology at Michigan State University, said in a statement. "These results provide a compelling argument to universities that a higher student retention rate could be enhanced just by having adequate recreational and fitness facilities for students."

The latest finding supports theories proposed earlier that suggests creating an environment that links students to the institution might help increase academic success as well as retention.

In this study, the researchers analyzed the data taken from a sample of freshman and sophomores, a total of 4,843. They compared the GPAs of those who purchased fitness facility membership with those who did not. They noticed that after four consecutive semesters, students with gym memberships had higher cumulative GPAs. They had more credits completed by the end of the first year in college.

"We found that these students' cumulative GPAs were 0.13 points higher," Pivarnik said. "Although this number may not appear to be significant, in the end, that amount could mean the difference to those students on the cusp of getting into graduate school or even advancing to the next academic year."

Nearly 74 percent of the students with membership were successfully gained sophomore status, while 60 percent of the students attained the goal in the non-member group.

This study is crucial as it highlights that the institute is not just retaining more students, but also retaining those who have higher GPA's - which is good for everyone.

The finding was documented in the Recreational Sports Journal.

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