Purdue researchers note link between exercise, improved grades

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New research from Purdue University shows the key to better grades could come with exercise.

The countdown to summer break is on in West Lafayette. The Grand Prix is Saturday and Finals Week follows.

"Everyone is cramming right now, getting ready for exams and there are projects due, so it is really stressful," said sophomore Jack Parker.

Because grades can open or close doors, freshman Hannah Evers is already focused on her grade point average.

"It's really important. I am a pre-pharmacy major right now and I can tell you that that is one of the most important things for me," Evers said.

Senior engineering student Ashwath Rajagopalan says, skills aside, the GPA determines if you get a job interview, "GPA is big, but it might not be the whole thing. But it is a conversation starter or it could be a conversation ender."

To keep the GPA numbers up, researchers at Purdue recommend students work out regularly. Of 25,000 students, they found that nearly 1,800 who went to the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center at least 16 times last semester had a higher GPA.

"The more often they are coming in here, they could see as much as a .25 difference, so maybe they are pulling a 3.0, but if they are coming in more regularly, they could see a 3.25," said researcher Tricia Zelaya.

Zelaya believes students who work out regularly have better time management skills, have a positive approach to relieving stress and are more energized and alert when they leave the gym.

"I can just focus better after I go to the gym. It will wake me up if I go in the morning or if I go at night, it will help me sleep better," said senior Caleb Parker.

Evers says she didn't have an exercise routine before college, but committed to an hour a day last fall.

"I know that if I can come here and make my body better, then I can go to my classes and I know my brain is strong enough to then be able to take in all the information and really use it and do well," she said.

In addition, she's happy with how her body is transforming. It's giving her more confidence and resolve to keep it up.

"I can feel myself getting stronger everyday and it's just pushing me to keep going," Evers said.

Researchers say a visit to the Rec Center counted as a work out, so the length of time students exercised was not a factor in the GPA bump.