The Benefits of Physical Education in Schools

Paul Romani (M.Ed.)

There are many benefits to having a well rounded physical education curriculum in school.

Gone are the days of the Canada Fitness Test and the initiatives that we all remember from grade school. Education boards seem to cut physical education and the arts before anything else. They are a critical part of a well-rounded education.

Keep reading to learn why students need and thrive with physical education as part of their regular routine and school curriculum.

1. Physical Fitness and Good Habits

One of the most obvious benefits of physical education being a part of school curriculum is that it helps students develop good habits in other areas of their lives. It also can help them develop a respect for and education regarding the importance of being physically active.

Many youths spend much less than the suggested 60 minutes of vigorous exercise or physical activity in a day. The majority of youth in Canada spend more time sitting staring at their phones, mobile devices or computer playing games, chatting with friends and talking on social media than they do participating in physical activity.

It is estimated that at least 1 in 4 youth in Canada are obese or overweight. Much of this is due to a lack of physical activity and less focus on physical education that in past decades.

Even if students didn’t get a lot of sports or aerobic activity during school hours in the past, they would be sent outside to play once school was over.  Physical education in public school used to be a mandatory part of each day and now it’s not even a mandatory part of each week. For many youth physical fitness has become an elective that isn’t focused on and certainly isn’t promoted with the enthusiasm of past decades.

2. Mental Well-being

Physical activity isn’t just important for physical fitness and to combat the negative habits of children and youth, but it is crucial to their mental health and well-being also. Music, art and physical fitness classes are the first to get cut in the budget for many school boards, not realizing as they do so, the mental health of youth in Canada has declined.

Classes such as gym, art, and music are not only important for developing the skills taught but are also critical in helping a child develop self-confidence, self-esteem, cooperation, and coordination skills. Critical thinking, collaboration, self-awareness, and cooperation skills are all learned during team sports, creative endeavors and physical fitness programs.

There is solid research showing physical activity can help improve mental health, reduce depression, give children a stronger sense of self and learning how to work well with others. 

3. Physical Education Improves Health

A proper physical education and health and fitness program not only helps youth stay physically fit and mentally healthier, it improves your overall physical health.

The benefits of a regular and routine physical fitness regime are notable and essential to a healthy life both during school and in their life in the future.

Physical activity on a regular basis (the suggested 60 minutes or more a day of aerobic physical activity each day) can help reduce the risks of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes 

A regular fitness routine can even reduce one’s risk of developing certain types of cancer and other physical and mental conditions.

4. Attention and Concentration 

Physical fitness is not only good for reducing your risk of many illnesses both physical and mental but it can actually help you concentrate and perform better in cognitive and mental health activities as well.

Research has shown that physical fitness can help with cognitive ability and memory. Students can understand, remember, and recall information better now and in the future with a regular fitness routine. 

We live in a world where physical fitness isn’t focused on and we have greater than ever numbers of students who aren’t focused either. ADHD, autism, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, and other conditions are on the rise as our attention and efforts to improve physical health and activity is put on the back burner for a more cyberspace based world.

Physical activity helps blood flow which helps thoughts flow so students who have gym or aerobic activities introduced as part of their daily routine tend to perform better in class for their other classes. They are able to understand and concentrate while the information is being taught. It improves their ability to relate the information they learn to real life and it makes it easier for them to recall things they’ve learned later in life.

Physical Activity Is Essential to Healthy Happy Youth

Physical education is essential to giving our next generation the skills and tools they need to be successful in life. They can learn better, socialize more easily, develop leadership skills and communication skills.

It isn’t just good for mental and physical health now while they are participating in school but also has long-lasting benefits for the future.

Click here for some more reasons of why we have daily physical education sessions and the types of activities that we do. 

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Pear Tree Elementary,
215-2678 West Broadway,
Vancouver, B.C.,
V6K 2G3

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