Physical Education In Schools Meet Andrea. A very intelligent brown haired, green eyed ten year old girl. Like many Canadian children, Andrea spends twenty-five to thirty hours in school each week- sitting. Andrea’s school kept her mind active. Too bad they forgot about her body.
She is just one of the thousands of Canadian children who can’t even run around the block. According to recent studies, children who participate in daily physical activities are more fit, have better health habits, and perform better academically. Therefore it is my belief that all Canadian schools should balance academics with quality, daily physical education. School children who participate in daily physical activities are more fit. In North America, forty percent of all five to eight year olds can be classified as obese, and beyond the age of twelve only ten percent of Canadian youth are active enough to receive any kind of health benefit.
I am proud to be among this minority, however; I recognize that our nation is experiencing a health crisis. What we need to do (both parents and students) is encourage the introduction of a new school program, which develops and maintains cardio-respiratory efficiency, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. This program must be for everyone, not just the elite athlete. We need a program that encourages a positive attitude towards personal fitness by meeting the needs and interests of all students. Most importantly, the program must be fun.
By providing a series of planned activities on a daily basis, we can be sure to see a dramatic increase in physical fitness. Furthermore, active children will develop better health habits. If students become more aware of their bodies, they will appreciate the relationship between exercise and health. They will take an interest in this relationship and become responsible for their personal health care. In turn, active children will shy away from smoking, alcohol, and substance abuse. Students will be reluctant to take part in such activities because they will be fully aware of the negative effects on the body.
These children will also develop a positive attitude towards an active lifestyle. Continual physical education will instill in the child the desire to participate and the ability to use leisure time wisely. A child’s eating habits will also improve. The active child will choose their foods more carefully to reflect their new, healthy lifestyle. They will feast on the natural sugars in apples and oranges, rather than on the sugar of a Twix bar.
And water will be the most refreshing drink on the market. Patterns developed early in life are likely to be carried on through to adulthood. What a wonderful life! A third advantage to vigorous physical activity for the student is enhanced academic performance. Exercise increases alertness as well as energy levels; therefore the active child comes to school ready to learn. A study done by Taylor & Taylor in 1989 states: “An individual enjoys improved concentration, enhanced memory and learning, enhanced creativity, better problem-solving ability, and improved mood state for up to two hours following exercise.” Students who are comfortable with their bodies tend to show a general boost in confidence. They become more willing to take risks in other areas of school life, including academics.
Self-confidence allows a child to participate more freely in the classroom. A child who exhibits low self-esteem will take fewer risks and undoubtedly miss out on many opportunities in life. Sports also allows the student to practice social skills in an informal environment. Skills such as; co-operation, responsibility, leadership, communication and self-control. Not only are these skills essential in the classroom, but they are also essential for a rewarding and successful life.
Quality, daily physical education means a planned program of instruction and activity. This program is for all students, to be exercised on a daily basis, throughout the entire school year. The benefits are known and the need is obvious. What could be more important? Now, just imagine what Andrea could achieve if her mind and body were both active!.