Physical Education Important in Schools
According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the bill identified the following subjects as the “core academic subjects”: English, reading or language arts, math, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography (NASPE). Leaving the subject Physical Education clearly missing from the list. Did this mean that the congress did not consider Physical Education to be an academic subject? It certainly got states, school boards, and educational policy makers believing so.
Unfortunately this made it legal for states to cut funding for PE and according to NASPE “gave many school boards the incentive (and political cover) to reduce or eliminate requirements for students to participate in PE classes” (NASPE). I have already begun to experience the effects of funding cuts. The first thing that went was funding for High School sports. For the last two years I have had to pay for traveling fees, support fund raisers, and purchase uniforms, just to name a few, in order for my son to participate.
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This makes it less desirable for lower income families to encourage their children to keep active in sports. This just simply adds fuel to the fire; our youth can already opt out of Physical Education and now in order to participate on a school team, they have to pay their own way. With these obstacles in our youth’s way, the risk for health problems increases dramatically.
Physical activity has been proven to be a great way to control and improve a sea full of issues including obesity, physical health, mental health, and academics.The National Association of Sports and Education explains that “PE was first offered as a subject in U. S. schools in the early part of the 19th century. State education agency mandates for PE became common after World War I, when many young men were found to be unfit for military service”(1). Since then the majority of us has gotten to experience this curriculum and it is just as important now in the 21st century as it was in the 19th. Physical Education plays an important role on constructing a well rounded individual.
By well rounded I mean a student who not only knows the importance of getting good grades in their core curriculums, but who also knows the importance of staying healthy through being actively involved in physical exercise. You do not necessarily have to be the most athletic person to participate. You just have to give it your all and do not give up. If you follow your teacher’s instructions and play by the rules, PE can have very rewarding outcomes. Or if you choose not to participate the outcomes can have a negative outcome including obesity.With our obese society being at an all time high, Physical Education could not be more important. According to Centers for Disease Control childhood overweight and obesity rates have tripled from just one generation ago which means that obesity affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States.
Childhood obesity tends to reflect the likelihood of being overweight as an adult. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease which is one of the leading causes of death of adults in the US. Obesity can also cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, and joint problems.CDC also mentions that obese children have low self esteem, social problems, and are the targets of bullying. Keeping the students actively involved in PE will initiate a stepping stone to fitness and decrease chances of obesity. (CDC “Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Childhood”) Physical health can be achieved by good nutrition and physical activities. In school the Physical Education curriculum mostly emphasizes physical health through physical activities.
The type of curriculum standards that are taught differs between states. Idaho has their standards separated by grade levels.These levels are as followed 2nd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade, and 9th-12th. According to the Idaho State Department of Education by the completion of 12th grade students should be able to “demonstrate health-related fitness components (cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition) by improving, meeting and/or sustaining gender and age-related contemporary fitness standards”. This does sound like a lot to have to learn through your school career, but by staying consistent and taking it seriously this can be achieved.To benefit from physical activity, the Office of Disease Preventions and Health Promotion suggests engaging in aerobic, age appropriate muscle strengthening, and bone strengthening for a period of at least 60 minutes daily. Chances of becoming physically fit increases with consistent participation in these activities.
This reduces the chance of becoming overweight and dramatically improves self confidence. Physical activity not only benefits physical health, but it also helps with mental health. Mental Health is an important factor for well being and overall health.Getting out of the classroom for exercise or even just for a breath of fresh air will help clear the mind. Exercise is beneficial to mental health issues like depression and mood. According to CDC “research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits” (CDC). Exercise stimulates positive energy through your body.
While this energy is being released, neurotransmitter chemicals called endorphins are simultaneously being released. According to Medterms. om “endorphins are one of the body’s own painkillers, an opioid (morphine-like) chemical produced by the body that serves to suppress pain, this in turn leads to a happier person and reduces the risks of stress and depression” (medterms. com). Good mental health is not only beneficial to a student in general, but it is also necessary in order to well academically. Physical Education can improve your overall academics. There are studies that link the benefits of working out to grades.
For starters I found a Doctor/Author named John Rate that has done studies on this exact subject.In an interview with USA Today, Ratey says “fast-paced workout boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. I call it Miracle-Gro for the brain, and physical activity is one of the best ways to release this brain-nourishing protein” (Fackelmann, Kathleen). He backs his finding up by stating the following “Studies show that regular physical activity may increase the production of cells in the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in learning and memory” (Fackelmann, Kathleen). Ratey was just one among the many that I found that linked Physical Activity to academics.A two year study was done on Percentile Changes in Body Mass Index and Academic Performance. The American Journal of Public health states their objective “We assessed the effects of a school-based obesity prevention intervention that included dietary, curricula, and physical activity components on body mass index (BMI) percentiles and academic performance among low-income elementary school children.
” (AJPH) The results overall were that the intervention school children had significantly higher math scores both years. These results alone state my case on the positive effects that physical activity has on students.My son who is in eleventh grade has given me a firsthand reason to believe that all these findings are accurate. He plays three sports at his high school along with taking a weight class each semester. He is in great physical and mental shape and maintains an overall grade point average of 3. 6. Granted he does need to maintain good grades to qualify to play, but with feeling healthy and good about himself he doesn’t think twice about doing otherwise.
He fills his time with school work and sports leaving him not much time to get in trouble and fall out of line.Although not every kid is going to be able to participate in a team sport, there is no reason that they can’t participate in Physical Education given that they don’t have physical limitations. Physical education budgets are being cut even though it has clearly been proven that students who actively participate in Physical Education from Kindergarten through twelfth grade not only improve their overall health, but also strengthen their academic achievements. I am a strong believer that Physical Education is a very important academic curriculum.