Children and young people today lead a more sedentary lifestyle than ever before. The electronic age we live in discourages physical activity in more ways than one. Digital entertainment such as computer games, internet surfing and television keeps kids in their chairs. Not only that, but the convenience of electronic appliances and gadgets results in very little physical work in the course of a day.
Because kids spend a majority of their time in school, educational institutions have the best opportunity to incorporate physical activity into children’s lives. School districts can easily counter this shortage through physical education programs.
Gym classes and competitive sports are not all about helping kids lose weight. Staying active is part of a healthy lifestyle, and one that can be instilled while kids are young. Burning calories is important, but exercise also helps build bone strength, improves cardiovascular health, and keeps kid’s metabolism high. There is also evidence that exercise helps mental performance by improving energy and concentration.
Physical education involves measurable data such as heart rate, body mass index, and cardiovascular capability. It also teaches children anatomy, nutrition, dietetics and sports theory. These are all important aspects of a well-rounded education. Providing this knowledge helps develop fully educated students who have a deeper understanding of the human body and the competitive world.
It’s not just about teaching fitness and nutrition, but also developing other life skills such as strategy and teamwork. Rope courses, rock walls and orienteering help develop patience, critical thinking, self-reliance and confidence.
Physical education and sports provide a foundation for a healthy life. Removing these programs from schools can deprive children not only of the opportunity for regular physical activity, but also the associated skills and benefits. While modern society does less to foster these important lessons, school may be the only chance for kids to have any of these experiences at all.