Which school do you want to support?
School plays a big role in the transition to adulthood. Teaching kids about the benefits of nutrition and exercise gives them lifelong skills to improve their health, give them more energy, and improve concentration. All of the above support performance academically in core subjects as well as psychologically in everyday life.
Physical Education can provide benefits in three main areas: Physical health, Academic Performance and Psycho / Social interaction. Childhood physical activity and fitness patterns often persist into adulthood, as do many disease risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Physically active people need (and make) fewer visits to physicians, have lower hospital usage, and require less medical attention overall than less active individuals. To the extent that PE courses help students develop habits of physical activity, they contribute to a healthier, less costly American population.
Does your school provide kids enough PE time? Here are the state requirements:
The intent of these Education Code policies is to have daily physical education available in all grade levels and the equivalent of two years of physical education required for high school.
Active Living Research is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports research to examine how environments and policies influence active living for children. According to their research, sacrificing physical education for classroom time does not improve academic performance. On the contrary, students who had increased time in school-based physical activity either maintained or improved their grades. And their scores on standardized achievement tests also improved, even though they received less classroom instructional time than students in control groups.
In the following short clip John Ratey, author of the popular book Spark describes research suggesting that cardiovascular fitness improves mental fitness:
Organized, competitive sports are not a feature of all schools, and school budget pressures are causing unknown numbers of schools to drop their sports programs. This is a loss. In an article on the subject, education journalist Jay Mathews features a study by Mathematica Policy Research that shows "although math had the biggest impact of any skill on later earnings, playing sports and having a leadership role in high school also were significant factors."
'...although math had the biggest impact of any skill on later earnings, playing sports and having a leadership role in high school also were significant factors.'
In order to make more of the school day and mitigate the chaos and conflicts of recess times, some schools have opted to add structure to recess. For example, Playworks.org is a national non-profit organization that offers a structured recess program.
The Institute of Medicine serves as an adviser on health issues to the National Academy of Sciences. In a 2013 brief, the Institute recommends both state and local policies to assure that physical activity is more effectively integrated into school programs.
Physical activity plays an important role in reducing anxiety, depression and tension, and has positive effects on the emotional status of students of all ages. Physical activity also increases self-esteem and perceived competence - elements that enable us to cope with mental stress.
Here are some resources to help your school develop physical health in your schools:
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