The $89 million France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center is paying off, as students who use the facilities, on average, see a positive correlation with their GPAs.

Recent data shows a positive relationship between grades and visits to the Recreational Sports Center. First semester students who utilized the CoRec during the fall of 2013 versus those who didn’t saw a significant difference in GPA.

Michelle Blackburn, assistant director of student development and assessment at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center, said the data corresponds to research supporting the benefits of physical activity on brain performance from John J. Ratey, M.D.

“Students completing their first semester at Purdue during fall 2013 that utilized the CóRec 15 or more times during the semester held a 3.08 GPA compared to 2.81 GPA for those that did not utilize the facility,” said Blackburn.

Andria Assalley, a sophomore in the College of Health and Human Sciences, used the Recreational Center three to six times a week and her GPA exceeded a 3.5. Her weekly schedule kept her time management on track and focused.

“Being active makes you have more determination in general,” she said.

The most recent data from the spring of 2014 shows a continued correlation between use of the facilities and grades. Full-time, undergraduate students who visited the Recreational Center an average of 16 times a month earned a 3.20 GPA compared to non-users who earned a 3.10 average GPA.

However, freshmen aren’t the only ones benefiting from the five-story fitness center.

“Trends continue for upperclassmen, as well.” said Blackburn. “Data from spring 2014 showed that students classified as juniors and seniors who visited the CoRec an average of 16 times a month earned a 3.24 GPA compared to non-users, who earned a 2.70 average GPA. The same progression of user visits to higher GPA was present for this population, too.”

Felicia Leibering, a sophomore in the Krannert School of Management, utilized the facilities frequently during her freshman year and her grades correlated.

“Working out gives me a break from studying and it’s a personal hour and a half that I have to myself,” said Leibering. “It really helps me focus, and I’m not as tired or cranky.”

In the interest of student success, the staff will continue to look at user statistics and analyze what activities students are participating in and their relation to GPA. With programs like financial workshops, instructional cooking and fitness training, the fitness hub’s impact reaches further than the doors to the gym.

“Student success research indicates that students who are involved in co-curricular activities perform better academically,” said Blackburn. “Helping students achieve success is not limited to the classroom, and we strive to help students establish healthy lifestyle habits.”

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