Athletics Can Be Beneficial for School Performance

Ameena Alsikafi, Staff Writer

Many students at LFHS are athletes. There are many benefits  unique to student-athletes. Athletes usually have better time management because they have to balance practice on top of their homework. For upperclassmen, they have to juggle studying for the ACT/SAT or college applications on top of being some of the top players.

However, there are a lot of benefits for an athlete’s body that have been scientifically proven to help with brain function. Sports can improve a person’s communication skills, decision-making, teamwork, time management, self-esteem, sense of community, and stress. When stressed, blood pressure levels go up and the immune system becomes weak. 

According to the American Psychological Association, physical stress can help the body become more durable. Studies have shown that when the body is first exposed to physical exercise it has an increase in stress hormones, but over time the activity of stress hormones goes down. Some studies show that norepinephrine, a hormone, and neurotransmitter that is involved in the “fight or flight” response, is released during exercise. This hormone is released in the part of our brain that is in charge of the body’s stress response and helps the brain deal with stress more effectively. Therefore being active is the best way to relieve stress because norepinephrine is being released and continues to help the brain handle stress. Many people have their preferred methods of stress management but exercise allows your brain to become more focused. 

The long-term effects of exercise are greater than the short-term ones. According to an article written by John Hopkins Medicine, regularly exercising is one of the best things you can do for yourself both physically and mentally. Consistent cardiovascular exercise helps with better blood flow to the brain by forming new blood vessels. Exercise causes new brain cells to start to sprout which improves overall brain performance. This is one of the main reasons athletes can be better at school.

This science can be seen around LFHS. Varsity tennis captain Lainey O’Neil is living proof of this. She is a state champion, student body vice president, and varsity tennis captain. She takes good classes and everyone loves to be around her. She is working nonstop to achieve her goals. Her daily routine is packed with school, practice, conditioning, and homework. This schedule is tiring day after day but O’Neil admits that time management is one of the best skills she has learned.

“The biggest thing I’ve done to be successful in the classroom and on the court is managing my time wisely. There are only so many hours in the day,” O’Neil said. After practice, she feels that she can “dive back in” and “stay focused” on her work. 

Though at first glance the two hours spent playing sports after school may seem like a distraction or waste of time, it actually increases your productivity when working on schoolwork, producing similar if not more productive results.