Let's Hit the Gym: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Student Exercise, Achievement, and Social Anxiety
First Faculty Advisor
exercise; achievement; social anxiety; mental health; physical health
CC-BY-NC-ND; CC-BY; CC-BY-SA; CC-BY-ND; CC-BY-NC-SA; CC-BY-NC
An emerging body of literature has documented the positive influence of exercise on student achievement. Human and non-human animal studies have proven that exercise can improve memory, academic stressors, social anxiety, and sleep along with more broad topics such as mental and physical health. With exercise improving memory and academic stressors, this leads to a potential conclusion that exercise could benefit student’s grade point average which will be tested in this study. Exercise is also exhibited to help reduce social anxiety which leads to a potential conclusion that exercise could improve one’s involvement in extracurricular activities because one would have less social anxiety. This paper seeks to understand if there is a potential relationship between exercise and a college students’overall achievement. Data were collected amongst 117 Bryant University students using a survey. As shown through the survey, those students who have a higher GPA, also have a higher need to achieve excellence. Surprisingly, those students who exercise more often, have a lower GPA. However, those students who exercise more have lower social anxiety which is also a reason for why students participate in extracurricular activities or not. As exhibited in the data analysis, more exercise leads to less social anxiety which leads to more participation in extracurricular activities, which ties into students’ overall achievement. In conclusion, based on the literature and the data analysis of the survey, exercise shows direct benefits to helping with students’ social anxiety. Although there was no direct relationship between students GPA and their amount of exercise, there could be other factors that tie into what makes individuals have a particular GPA along with exercise. Because of the small sampling size, it was difficult to see the correlation between GPA and exercise. Therefore, if the researcher were to conduct this study again, they should focus on getting a larger sampling size, especially with students with lower GPA’s.