What if in order to graduate you needed to pass a physical fitness test? That’s what’s happening at this university in Tianjin, China.
South China Morning Post (SCMP), a Hong Kong-based English newspaper, reported that this “PE initiative” was announced last year, requiring students to pass a physical exam in order to move on academically. The goal, which was to get students out of their dorms and into mastering sports, seemed to work — 1,206 students graduated with fitness certificates. The university also gave special kudos to 57 outstanding students for their health achievements.
What does getting a 4.0 GPA for your body look like?
If you were looking to get a scholarship, well, the school will also consider the results of your fitness test in your application. At Nankai University, this exam consists of a test, a health check, and a record of how much you exercised. According to SCMP, the university considers “at least one hour of exercise every day” the ideal amount of time.
But what can one hour even do for you? Well, according to a recent 2017 study by North Carolina State, a lot.
This study looked at 21,000 students and found that one hour of exercise a week increased overall GPA by .06 points. This increase could be even higher at 0.18 if you were a student who didn’t exercise and then decided to start working out for at least three hours per week.
Should U.S. colleges bring PE back?
The way physical education (PE) haunts K-12 students everywhere, PE used to haunt students throughout college, too. In the 1920s, almost 97 percent of U.S. college students had to take PE. By 2010, the number dropped to 39 percent.
Only these days, exercise is more important than ever for college students — mobile phones and computers are associated with sedentary behavior and interfere with exercise, especially among college students. With 1 in 6 children from ages 2 to 19 in the United States currently considered to have obesity, exercise in college has even greater importance.
Here’s some good news though. The current graduation rate for undergrads at a four-year institution is 59 percent and — wait for it — a North Carolina State study notes that even just an hour a week of exercise raises one’s odds of graduating by 49 percent. Exercise could literally change a person’s life.
So maybe Nankai University is onto something by requiring students to exercise. In fact, more research backs exercising in college, noting that it can help students with:
Who else agrees that universities should put both our brain and body on their A game? Scroll down to read more on getting started, from easy workouts to do in bed to five-minute game changers. Your health will definitely thank you, and your education just might too.
Christal Yuen is an editor at Healthline.com. When she’s not editing or writing, she’s spending time with her cat-dog, going to concerts, and reading books she doesn’t finish. You can reach her on Twitter.