Today, we are facing a continuing problem of obesity and decrease participation in physical activities. It seems that we understand the basic premise behind the so many of us being overweight and obese and that the promotion of healthy diets and physical education would be at the forefront of this fight. However, many people tend to believe that the field of physical education is not a serious or integral part of their development. As a physical educator, I often find myself having to explain the benefits of physical education and why it is very necessary in our schools today. For example, I have many conversations about differences between physical education and athletics, informing people why physical education is a very necessary part of a person's education and life. Although there is a relationship between the two, I believe that all people should have an understanding and appreciation for the many benefits physical education.
I would like to highlight a few of the MANY benefits of physical education:
1. Development of the Fundamental Motor Skills
Taking High-Quality Physical Education classes in the early years of childhood allows for the development of the Fundamental Motor Skills, such as, running, hopping, skipping, galloping, sliding, and etc. Contrary to popular belief, these fundamental skill have to be taught to us inorder for us to develop the correct form and technique. Have you ever wondered why many people seem to be awkward when they run or done have coordination when they are jumping rope? Well, if you traced their experience in learning these fundamental skills, there many have been something missing in the process of learning.
As with any skill, the development of a STRONG foundation is a must! If we want to become great at a particular sport or physical activity, we first have to develop our fundamental motor skill, which is out string foundation!
2. Motivation to be physically active
When people have the opportunity to learn and master a skill they tend to be more confident and motivated to continue that activity. I believe that many people are not motivated to be physically active because they are not confident in their abilities to perform that task efficiently. High-Quality Physical Education is essential to learning skills needed to be proficient in activities like basketball, running, swimming, football and etc. For example, in basketball and football there are many drills that players do in order to become better in the game. If those players did not learn how to slide, leap, or hop, their performance will likely suffer.
We are more likely to participate in activities that we believe we will be good at. If more children and adults had High-Quality Physical Education their motivation to be physically active in their everyday life would increase.
3. Contribute to a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle
Becoming fit and healthy is a challenging task for many of us. It takes discipline and consistency to reach optimal health and fitness. Physical Education promotes the appropriate motor development, aerobic activity, cooperative skills, self-efficacy, self-confidence, and so much more. High-Quality Physical Education in k-12 and higher education can potentially reverse the rising trend of obesity and declining health of so many people in our society.
4. Enhanced Learning and Educational Experience
There has been a trend of removing physical education from school curriculums in an attempt to improve student academic performance. The focus on testing has caused classes like physical education, art and music to be pushed to perceived as insignificant. However, many studies have shown that physical activity contributes to increased academic performance. Students concentration in their core classes improves and they tend to have improved behavior in their classes. I believe that when students spend almost 8 hours of the day sitting in classrooms without an opportunity to exert their energy in physical education and recess, it can cause a number of distractions while trying to learn.
High-Quality Physical education is a must within our school systems and higher education. The advantages of restoring physical education into school curriculums definitely outweighs the disadvantages. High-Quality Physical Education and have tremendous impact on our society as a whole, including improved physical fitness, reduced stress, improved judgement, improves social skills, self-discipline, motivation, and self-esteem.
References: Benefits of Physical Education
Hills, A. P., Dengal, D. R., & Luban D. R. (2015). Supporting public health priorities: Recommendations for physical education and physical activity promotion in schools. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 57 (4).
Keslo, C. (2015).The importance of physical education://www.veanea.org/home/1000.htm
Ntoumanis, N. (2001). Self-determination approach to the understanding of motivation in physical education. British Journal of Educational Psychology 71, (2).