Exercise Can Help Cognitive Performance - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Exercise Can Help Cognitive Performance

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- A recent study by Michigan's Saginaw State University found students who exercised seven days week reported, on average, a higher grade point average than those who did not. 

But students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse said they've been buying into the philosophy of sound body, sound mind long before Saginaw State's findings were published. 

Graduate student Michael Smith said hitting the gym provides a nice relief from his rigorous school schedule. 

"I usually work out six days a week," Smith said. "It really just helps me calm down from the rest of the day, like from my classes and everything."

"Exercise does a number of things we know really help cognitive functions," said Dr. Richard Mikat, the director of UW-L's exercise science program. "It increases blood flow and it increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream."  

"When you exercise, your breathing rate increases, which oxygenates the blood and then the blood flow increases to deliver it to tissues like the brain." 

Mikat also said the effects of exercise on academics can be attributed not just to biology. 
"Exercise brings an improvement in self efficacy," he said. "You believe in yourself. You have a greater faith you can cause positive changes in your life." 

"That can translate to better performance in the classroom for students or, for adults, a better performance at work," Mikat said. 

Mikat also said sticking to an exercise routine can help build a sense of commitment and discipline -- both qualities needed to succeed studying for exams. 

Smith said he's noticed the effects of exercise on his academic habits. 

"I just feel everyone should work out during the day," he said. "You'll just be more energized and be ready to take care of business." 
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