Physical Education in Schools
For the first time in this nation’s history, children and grandchildren will have shorter lives than their ancestors. More than a third of children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese. Many experts assert that obese children or young adults will grow into obese adults (“Childhood Obesity”). Physical activity among our youth is very important in the fight against obesity. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure. Exercising daily helps reduce the risk of many diseases. Although exercise requires energy, it makes the person much more energetic to meet the days challenges (Levchuck, Drohan, and Kosek 88). Physical fitness or exercise in schools is very important here in the United States to combat obesity and improve human performance.
Physical fitness classes should be mandatory in schools because they promote a lifelong healthy lifestyle. People who make physical activity a part of their daily lives when they are young and in school are more likely to stay healthy and fit as they grow older. Exercising on a daily basis helps increase one's strength, flexibility, endurance and weight control. It also produces better bone mass, healthier joints, and stronger muscles. Having thicker bones helps fight arthritis and osteoporosis in adults after leaving school (Levchuck, Drohan, and Kosek 85-88). Some diseases that people can get if they do not exercise daily are cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and non-insulin dependent diabetes (“Guidelines for Schools and Community Programs”). Also, exercise can help prevent getting certain cancers like colon, breast, and lung cancer. To prevent these diseases, experts say that children should engage in one hour or more of physical activity each day. Physical education classes in schools can fulfill these requirements to stay fit (“The Benefits of Physical Activity”). Physical activity not only has a beneficial effect on physical health but also mental health (“Guidelines for Schools and Community Programs”).
Some oppose part of the school day being spent in physical education classes. They contend that time could be better spent in academic classes. They believe that this is one of the reasons American students lag behind their foreign contemporaries. They believe that this is the reason for low test scores on standardized tests. Others point to the severe mental stress that a physical education class puts on some students who are not able to perform at the same level of their classmates. They are embarrassed, and their self-esteem suffers.
In reality, exercise awakens the minds of children. When a person is active for 20 minutes or more, that person’s body releases endorphins. Endorphins are proteins in the brain that act as the body’s natural pain reliever. When the endorphins are released, people are in a state of happiness and can concentrate better. When students concentrate better they are able to focus more on school work and get better grades. Also, memory is an important part of studying and being physically fit helps retain memory longer. Sometimes, students are not able to do well in schools because of all the stress that the schools put on them, but physical activity can help students manage that stress and anxiety in a healthy way. Students do great things when their minds are happy, but many children get depressed easily. So, when they exercise, the feelings of depression leave their system and their minds are happy and healthy.
Conclusion / Call To Action
Physical fitness classes should be mandatory for students in school because physical activity helps promote a healthy and fit lifestyle, and brings energy and happiness to the mind so students can focus on schoolwork. The kids who are active daily are the ones who live happy and healthy lives. If they do not exercise daily then diseases can come upon them and weight loss is harder. But physical fitness does not only have physical benefits, but also mental and emotional. When students exercise, endorphins are released from the brain which causes them to be in a state of happiness and helps them concentrate for school in a happy manner. In the United States, children do not want to have to live an unhealthy lifestyle. If every school had mandatory physical education classes, then our problem with weight in children would be easily fixed or helped. Children’s weight problems are worse than ever, and parents are the ones who can help fix this problem. Every parent, indeed every taxpayer, should financially support physical education courses in schools to ensure healthy lifestyles and increased focus on academics.
Levchuck, Caroline M. Drohan, Michele. and Kosek, Jane Kelly. Healthy Living. Detroit: Thomas L. Romig, 2000. Print.
“The Benefits of Physical Activity.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard School of Public Health, 2014. Web. 26 Mar. 2014
“Guidelines for School and Community Programs.” Center for Disease Control. Web. 19 Sep. 1998. 26 Mar. 2014.
“Childhood Obesity.” Issues and Controversies. Facts on file News Service, Web. 14 Nov. 2011. 17 Mar. 2014.