By Jack Singer, Ph.D.
We all know the stereotype. The great athlete didn’t spend much time honing his intellectual skills; instead, all of his efforts were spent on the athletic field and thus, he tends to be lacking in the brains department. Like all stereotypes, this idea does not encompass all athletes, but still seems to be pervasive, especially among football players, where we all chuckle about the easy courses they take in college, etc. For example, it seems like 90 % of football players are Sociology majors, often the easiest curriculum at the university.
However, some new research cited in Scientific American is stereotype breaking.
Here are some of the findings:
- Students who have the highest aerobic capacity and lowest body fat tend to perform well in school and on standardized tests.
- Exercise has been found to turbocharge the formation of new connections between brain cells, causing greater intellectual capacity.
Did you know that Elementary school teachers constantly force “active” children to sit still and they are quick to recommend these youngsters be placed on drugs to control their restlessness? The ADHD epidemic of diagnoses speaks to this point.
Budgetary constraints in schools these days frequently target P.E. classes, as if they are not as important as academic classes. Teachers having to be accountable for the standardized test scores of their students push those teachers to emphasize academic curricula and de-emphasize physical education.
Now, with these new research findings, hopefully school administrators will realize the intellectual value of physical education and sports team participation for youngsters.
I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.
Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis