Gym Membership Linked To Higher GPA

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Giving the books a rest and grabbing some weights is helping students at Michigan State University make the grade. Researchers at MSU found that students with gym memberships had higher GPAs.

Looking at incoming freshman, MSU researchers found that students who bought a gym membership did better in school compared to those who didn't.

"GPA was higher, more were still here after their freshman year, more were here after their sophomore year, more had obtained junior status," said James Pivarnik a Professor of Epidemiology and Kinesiology at MSU.

One explanation is the routine and time management skills that comes with working out.

"People who take time to get that membership and then hopefully utilize it are probably more organized and are probably people with better overall habits," Pivarnik added.

A membership to MSU's recreation center isn't free, A yearly membership can cost students up to $180, but recreation staff say the benefits far outweigh the costs. Especially when the stress of school gets to be too much

"It's almost like a fight or flight," said Patty Oehmke Associate Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services at MSU. "They get rid of the excess energy and then they are calm and able to sit down and tackle whatever the real academic problem is."

And when they're in the gym staff say students aren't just burning calories.

"They have notebooks or textbooks and they are studying as they work out, Oehmke said.

Researchers say it's all about finding the right balance.

"Don't skip hitting the gym don't skip hitting the books," Pivarnik said.
"It just speaks to the potential role of physical activity and in particular buying a gym membership and hopefully utilizing it."

MSU researchers and graduate students plan on expanding this study to look at more factors that lead to those higher GPAs.

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