POSTED: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 9:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 9:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — For Joey Kennedy and his campmates, Spring Break doesn't mean a break from learning.
But the sixth grader says it's a different kind of learning than he's used to.
"It's more active than school," stated Kennedy.
And research shows activity is just what the mind needs to kick start
A new study in the March issue of “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” says physical activity right before a test helps kids do better by increasing blood flow to the brain and releasing good hormones to balance mood and help with concentration.
Physical education teacher Amy Rybicki says that's why her students get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
"We believe daily exercise helps promote brain function, increase focus and attention for our students," stated Rybicki.
The research backs her belief finding kids paid better attention on tests right after physical exercise.
Abilities to process increased by 10 percent and concentration increased too
The same group scored higher after using mental exercises too like memory games or pretests.
"They come in ready to get moving because they've been sitting for so long," said Rybicki.
Whether kids break a mental or physical sweat, Rybicki says physical education has as great of an impact on children’s long-term education as traditional classroom learning.
The study also found students who went through physical and mental exercises before a test did not score as high as when they had just one form of exertion.
Researchers say too much mental and physical activity combined could be simply overwhelming for kids.