Physical education provision doesn’t tend to be high up on the list of a school’s priorities, since every school has a limited amount of resources and there simply are not enough school hours in the day to fit everything in as it is. Consequently, physical education tends to get pushed out of the school timetable to make way for subjects that are regarded as more important. Students obviously need to study maths, English and science, but this doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from taking lessons such as physical education, as well.
Physical education can give students an opportunity to take a break from academic study, get some fresh air and clear their head. If they’ve been listening to teachers, and reading and writing for hours at a time exercise can help wake them up a bit and make them feel more alert so that when they go back to class they are able to concentrate better and take more information in. It is all well and good for headteachers to concentrate on cramming as many ‘important’ lessons into the timetable as possible, but doing so won’t necessarily mean students learn more, particularly if they end up getting distracted due to a short attention span.
Not everyone enjoys physical education lessons, but then not everyone likes studying maths, and yet they have to do it. Those who dislike physical education tend to be those who are not very good at team sports and who dislike the competitive environment, but doing exercise can really benefit both their mind and body. Indeed, it is all too clear that many children and teenagers are not getting enough exercise, especially with so many of them being classed as overweight or obese.
Childhood obesity rates have been increasing as parents have been feeding their children more junk food and not encouraging them to exercise enough. Therefore, getting students to do exercise at school may motivate them to work on their fitness outside of school hours. It is important for young people to exercise so that they strengthen their bones, keep their heart and lungs healthy, and boost their immune system. Exercise can also help them deal with the stress and anxiety that school life often brings with it, as well as helping to fend off depression.
Evidently, then, it is in a school’s best interests to encourage physical education, since if this promotes a positive attitude towards health and fitness the end result will be happy, healthy students who are not taking days off school due to ill health and who are able to concentrate better in class, thus improving their overall learning experience.