There is no secret in the fact that physical activity is essential to a person’s well-being and because children are constantly developing bodily as well as emotionally, they are especially affected by the benefits of activity – and inversely to the negative effects of inactivity. According to numerous studies, many children are neither active at home nor at school and consequently it is vital that schools offer physical education programs to ensure that each child stays active.
Physical education programs in schools directly promote students’ physical health. It is widely known that getting the optional amount of exercise fights obesity and subsequently reduces the risk for diabetes, heart disease, asthma, sleep disorders and other illnesses. Regular exercise also contributes to cardiovascular health and promotes muscle and bone development. In addition to participating in physical activity, students in PE also learn the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle, the building blocks upon which they can develop into healthy and knowledgeable adults.
Often lack of attention on Physical Education is warranted as an opportunity to spend more time in the classroom, but the studies have shown that physical activity contributes to improved academic performance. Regular activity during the school day is directly associated with higher concentration levels as well as more directed, unruffled behavior.
Activities in Physical Education help children build up healthy social interactions. From a young age, children learn collaboration through group activities and shape a positive sense of identity as part of a team. Such group activities are continually important as children grow older.
The benefits of PE to a child’s mental health are both multifaceted and wide-ranging. While Improved physical health, academics and social interactions all contribute to good mental health, physical activity also sets the stage for a good night’s sleep, while obesity, caused in part by inactivity, is linked to sleep apnea. Sleep deficiency negatively affects the body’s immune function, aids in memory consolidation and may cause irritability and impatience. Regular physical activity, in addition to adequate sleep, provide more energy to participate in hobbies and interact with others.
If you are enrolling your child in school then ask about the school’s Physical Education policies and what kind of sports are offered and also – if possible – speak to the parents of students already in the school for their opinions and experiences.
Authored by Dr. Rosetta Williams, an expert Education Consultant, an accomplished educationist and a strategic leader with experience of over 28 years in managing and leading education institutions, new academic ventures, education policy formulation and change management across multiple locations in India and abroad.