Sports Medicine Bulletin
Mar. 3, 2015

Active Voice: Fitness and Academic Achievement in Children — Not Necessarily a Straightforward Association
By Stephen D. Herrmann, Ph.D. and David Hansen, Ph.D.

David Hansen, Ph.D.

Stephen D. Herrmann, Ph.D.
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Stephen D. Herrmann, Ph.D., is a researcher at Sanford Research in the Children’s Health Research Center and is the director of program development and training for profile by Sanford. His research is focused on understanding individual response to exercise and diet interventions— more specifically, why certain people respond positively to exercise and diet interventions and others do not. Dr. Herrmann is a member of ACSM.

David Hansen, Ph.D., is associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Education. His expertise is on adolescent development and learning in a variety of in and out-of-school settings, including the full range of organized youth activities (e.g., extracurricular, community-based programs). This commentary presents the views of Herrmann and Hansen on the topic of their research article, which they and their colleagues published in the December 2014 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® (MSSE).

Finding an association between academic achievement and physical activity (PA) or aerobic fitness (fitness) would surprise few these days. In general, the research literature indicates higher PA and fitness tend to correlate with higher academic achievement, and vice versa. That is, children who are more physically active and those who are more aerobically fit tend to have higher academic achievement. This positive, linear association adds to a growing list of PA/fitness benefits for children’s health. But is this association of PA/fitness with academic achievement as straightforward—linear—as it seems? Is the association basically the same across subject matter? Furthermore, who benefits most academically by increased PA/fitness? These questions were the impetus for our recent publication in MSSE.


ACSM partners with Aspen Institute for 2015 Project Play Summit

ACSM played a key role in the 2015 Project Play Summit held last week in Washington, D.C. To help organizations explore and act on the recently released Project Play Report, leaders from the eight key priority areas identified in the report came together to discuss access to quality sport activity representing community recreation groups, national sport organizations, policymakers and civic leaders, education, public health, business and industry and technology and media. ACSM CEO James R. Whitehead led a panel discussion featuring ACSM member Robert C. Cantu, MD, FACSM and other experts. Other notable speakers included a keynote address by new U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, Aspen Institute Executive Director Tom Farrey, Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix, NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian W. Hainline, MD, FACSM, and many others. View the Project Play Report here.


Capitol Hill Effort Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 4, to Promote Policies That Will Encourage Healthy, Active Lifestyles

Tomorrow, ACSM will join together with five Olympic gold medalists, two Super Bowl champions, one Heisman Trophy winner, one Olympic silver medalist, more than 100 leaders from organizations in the sports and fitness industries and athletes from MLB, NHL, NBA, USA Swimming, Easton, Puma, ASICS, Evoshield, Polar, Franklin, Speedo and Under Armour. Why? To meet with the U.S. Congress and request support for federal legislation to help our country win its own “battle of the bulge” and reverse the current "inactivity pandemic." The event is the 16th Annual National Health Through Fitness Day in Washington, D.C. The day is organized by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine and sponsored by Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) America.

On National Health Through Fitness Day, a delegation of celebrity athletes, sporting goods and fitness manufacturers, sports retailers, concerned citizens, physical educators and association leaders will meet with members of Congress to encourage passage of three legislative initiatives to help all Americans become more physically fit:

(1) The Physical Activity Recommendations (PAR), which promotes awareness of the types and amounts of physical activity that Americans, of all ages and physical aptitudes, should perform to gain important health benefits.

(2) Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), which provides grants to school districts and community based organizations to support innovative physical education and activity methods (change from semi-colon to period).

(3) The PHIT Act (Personal Health Investment Today Act) will encourage improved health through increased physical activity for all Americans by making it more affordable to participate in sports and engage in physical fitness and recreation activities – through the use of tax incentives. The PHIT Act will help prevent illness and costs associated with the obesity and sedentary crisis.

For more information, please contact Monte Ward at

In Case You Missed It: ACSM's Train Your Body Show on RadioMD

ACSM has partnered with to bring you the Train Your Body radio show — a unique health website broadcast sharing important wellness and fitness information in a conversational talk radio style with real time audio streaming 24/7. Each week, ACSM experts discuss their areas of expertise with the show's host, Melanie Cole, an exercise physiologist herself. Listen live each Tuesday at 1 p.m. EST, or peruse and download past episodes on your computer, tablet or other device here.

Highlights from February's shows include:


Don't Miss Free Online Content from ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal®

Check out the two free featured articles from the March/April 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal® at

The free featured articles from this issue include, "DELIVERING CHANGE THAT LASTS: Health and Wellness Coaching Competencies for Exercise Professionals," by Gary A. Sforzo, Ph.D., FACSM; Margaret Moore, MBA; and Michael Scholtz, M.A. and the On the Floor column, "More Than a Name on the Wall: Reflections on a Life Well Lived," by Mary E. Sanders, Ph.D., FACSM and James A. Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM. The articles are available free of charge on the journal's website until April 22, so download your copies today. More

Stability Tools Keep Bodyweight Fitness Craze off Balance
New balance devices that improve stability have made shifting the new lifting of resistance training, fitness experts say, adding the challenge of instability to back-to-basic workouts.

Exercise balls, sandbags and load-shifting body bars are among the tools popping up in bodyweight training, the minimal-equipment exercise routine that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) tagged as the top trend for 2015.

"The idea of bringing the body into an environment that challenges stability and balance is on the up rise," said Michigan-based trainer Derek Mikulski. "Shifting resistance constantly challenges the body's center of mass so the core has to work harder."

The core refers to the muscles of the abdominals and back that support the spine and keep the body stable and balanced.

Mikulski is the creator of a new balance device called ActivMotion Bar. It looks like a body bar but is hollow and filled with steel balls that shift back and forth when moved. More

Performance Boosters for Swimmers
Swimming World Magazine
Conference championships are almost upon us! As they draw closer, we've taken a look at some interesting foods athletes have adopted as ways of getting the most out of their bodies. These super foods for swimmers may surprise you.

The nitrates in beets change our bodies in two important ways. First, they can cause blood vessels to dilate, increasing the flow of oxygen to an athlete’s muscles. Second, they improve the efficiency of the mitochondria in our cells, meaning our muscles need less oxygen to function.

In this way, nitrates have a profound influence on endurance. Athletes who need less oxygen and can make more available to their muscles are going to be able to function at maximum capacity far longer than their competitors before going into "oxygen debt."

The greatest difficulty with using beets to improve your performance is that they're beets. They honestly taste like sweet dirt, and it can be hard to find a recipe that properly masks their powerful flavor. If you can adjust to the taste, or even convince yourself you like it, beets could be the edge you need at championships this year.More