The Need for Better Physical Education in Schools

Physical education classes are important in a student’s high school career. The class should be required due to the fact that it not only improves each student’s health and wellness but also improves their academic performance. High school students that understand the importance of being healthy want to be the healthiest kid they can be. Physical education classes should be turned into a program that is based on fitness, not sports. About 5% of the adults in this country are involved in a sports based team to stay active. It is silly to focus so much on sports rather than fitness.

A major thing that bothers many people including myself is that these classes are only required for only one semester. If you are going to require kids to get exercise, should you not enforce this expectation throughout their whole school career? Illinois is the only state in the USA that requires students to have daily P.E. classes K-12. It saddens me to know that this generation has a shorter life expectancy than its parents due to inactivity.

Speaking of inactivity, only about 15% of the high school students in the USA get enough daily exercise. To fix this problem schools should be required to make the P.E. program more individually focused. They would need to have regular meetings with health and wellness instructors/counselors to set goals and discuss their personal fitness plan. Think of the impact this would have on children. It would help cultivate the well-being of students and their academic scores would flourish.

Another reason to promote activity is that every young person’s body is still developing. To keep them inactive throughout school hours is arbitrary. It is absolutely obscene to hold people stationary for 7 hours straight. This diminishes their life expectancy and is a big reason students find school adverse.

John Ratey, a researcher at Harvard, states that,

“Exercise is like fertilizer for the brain… it’s so good, it’s like Miracle Gro.”

Paul Zientarski at Naperville Central High School created a physical education program that would advance students health and learning called LRPE, short for Learning Readiness Physical Education. Studies show that students that took math classes with the program had 93% better scores than those who did not take the fitness program.

This is arguably the most important part of a student’s day. If the class is placed correctly in the day students can benefit from it in amazing ways. For example; say a student struggles with English. The class would be placed the period before the English class. Students would be more energized and cognizant of what the teacher would be talking about.

Helping students academically does not stop there. Teachers at Naperville Central High School invented what they call brain breaks. This helps students stay focused during the class. An example of a brain break would be something as simple as a 20-minute walk. Studies have shown that this majorly affects brain activity and makes sure kids do not start thinking what they are going to do that weekend in the middle of class.

If you still do not agree that P.E. should be a required class throughout a student’s career then ask yourself this; is it not one of the greatest goals in life to live to your fullest potential? People who are physically and mentally fit are less prone to medical problems and early death.

It just makes sense.

There is no better use of educational time and funding than an investment in a child’s physical fitness.