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The Benefits of Keeping Physical Education In The Schools

Updated on January 30, 2012
Phys Ed Class
Phys Ed Class | Source

With schools cutting their budgets, they are forced to cut things from the education process. One of the things that some schools either cut or were thinking of cutting was Physical Education Class. There are so many things wrong with cutting phys ed that I had to write a hub explaining the benefits to keeping the class. Kid's need exercise and a break during the day, and cutting phys ed would eliminate both of those things, making for a long day of sitting.

Obesity
Obesity | Source

Lower Obesity Rate

With the child obesity rate on the rise, it’s more important now than ever to keep children/teens active. Phys ed. classes usually last between 40 minutes and an hour. During that time, the students’ heart rates are up, which is exactly what is needed to burn off those extra calories instead of storing them as fat. The more running around kids do, the more calories they will be burning. These are calories that without gym class, they wouldn’t be burning.

May Be The Only Form Of Exercise Kids Get

Along with the obesity rate rising, gym class may be the only form of exercise kids are getting during the day. There are kids out there who go home from school and either sit and watch TV, sit and play computer games, or sit and play video games. Back in the day, kids used to be seen playing outside until suppertime, and then back out again after supper. Now you rarely see kids out and about in their yards playing. By giving them the 40 minutes or so that they get in gym class, you are providing them with the opportunity to not only play these fun games in school, but also to take those games home with them and play them there. They may really enjoy some of the games played in phys ed and want to teach them to siblings or friends at home, getting them off the couch and outside and moving.

Teamwork
Teamwork | Source

Teaches Teamwork

When playing any team sport or game, children and adults alike are forced to work with others. Games like these (team games) in phys ed class will help to teach that concept of working together: teamwork. This is a skill each and every child will need in the future and they will be getting the practice with it here. Another benefit to playing these team games is that students may form new friendships. Putting students together with others that they normally wouldn’t be with may spark a common interest between them and may develop into a long lasting friendship. The next time the kids are to work together in the classroom, you may be surprised at how well they can do this, and at the different groups you may see!

Teaches Hard Work

Phys Ed will teach kids how to have a hard work ethic in and out of the classroom and why having this hard work ethic is important. At the elementary school where I teach, our gym teacher offers an award to students who give it their all, work as a team player and who displays respect to everyone, including the teacher, during all gym classes. He creates an “All Star” team choosing 6 students from each grade, K-6, (we have no middle school in our district) each marking period. So there will be 4 separate teams. For example, there are 3 different Kindergarten classes. Out of those 3 classes he will choose 6 students to be apart of the “All Star” team. When the team is chosen, there are a total of 42 students on the “All Star” team. He then posts the team members on big pieces of poster board for everyone to see in the cafeteria. He also gives each member a paper award to recognize their achievement. The kids love it! They know they need to work hard to receive the award and become recognized in the school, so they do their best to achieve that. It teaches them that if they want something, they must work hard for it and not expect it to be given to them.

Teaches Responsibility

Phys Ed will teach the meaning of responsibility to the students, especially at the middle and high school level. Once students get to this level, they are responsible for bringing in their own clothes, shoes, socks, etc. They are also responsible for remembering where their gym locker is and the combination to the lock. At the school district I teach, the High School level of students are also responsible for attending class on a regular basis. You are allowed 3 absences per marking period. After the 3rd miss, you are deducted points from your grade. You are also given points each class for participation, proper attire, and attitude. The only way you are excused from gym class is with a Doctor’s note. If you have a note saying you cannot do anything that involves jumping, the gym teacher will adapt your class so you have something else to do instead of just sitting there. You are still responsible for your clothing, attitude, and participation. All of these things are teaching the students that they are responsible for their personal belongings as well as themselves. It only prepares them for the real world where responsibility, especially for yourself and your things, plays a big role in obtaining and keeping a job.

Body Composition
Body Composition | Source

Teaches The Students About Body Composition

In the school district I teach, students are given their weight and their BMI (Body Mass Index). That is at the elementary school. At the high school they are given those 2 things as well as their Body Fat percentage (which I think is a better measure of your body than BMI). The students learn what all of these things mean and how they affect their bodies. They learn what a healthy body fat percentage is, what a healthy weight is, and what they have to do to obtain and keep those things. Having that knowledge will help them in their adult life to make better choices about food and exercise, hopefully putting the obesity epidemic under control and maybe even lowering it!

May Make Student’s Want To Play A Team Sport

By participating in activities in gym class, students may want to join an after school team sports or team activity program. This will only help them develop new skills (see my hub on The Benefits Of Playing Sports At Any Age), while helping them to see more exercise time instead of computer time.

Sleeping In Class
Sleeping In Class | Source

Breaks Up The Day

With the strict demands placed on students today, kids need phy ed class as an outlet. It lets them release pent up energy and have fun instead of having their noses in textbooks all day. They need that down time and socialization time to not only refresh them, but to give them a break! We all need breaks throughout the day, no matter what age you are. Putting their minds on something fun instead of math and reading breaks up their day and gives them a fresh start when they come back.

Conclusion

Overall, there are many rewarding and beneficial benefits to keeping gym class in the schools. When I heard that they were considering removing (and some schools did) gym class and other special classes, because of budget cuts, I was pretty angry. Kids need those times throughout the day for themselves. They need exercise in their day. They need that chance to release energy. They need time to have fun! Cutting gym class is not only a bad idea, but in the long run, I think it will only make obesity and academics worse.

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