Did you know physical activity among children and teens is getting dangerously low? Only 35% of children aged five to 17 years old get the recommended amount of physical activity per day.
This is why physical education in schools is important. It compensates for the lack of physical activity among children. However, why do they need to be active in the first place? Won’t schools do better if they focus on academics?
While learning is a given, the importance of physical education is equal to that. Keep on reading to learn the top five reasons why.
Within the last three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled for Canadian children. We can blame this on several factors. The biggest offenders, though, are unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity.
The child’s diet depends on the household. On the other hand, the physical activity you can leave to the child through playtime.
However, playtime today has changed because of the prevalence of mobile devices. Instead of running in the yard, children may be watching videos on YouTube instead.
Furthermore, you can’t always watch what kids are eating. Fries, pizza, burgers, soft drinks, and other fried foods are popular foods among school children (and adults).
This is where the importance of physical education becomes evident. They need physical activity to burn the extra calories from these foods. Otherwise, these calories will turn into fat.
It’s still recommended for kids to have some sort of activity when they get home. But because it isn’t always feasible, you can trust the school to oversee this important aspect in a child’s development, as well.
You might know by now that sports require a huge amount of discipline. It’s not exclusive to athletes, as even school children need it to excel in their chosen field.
Even a simple thing like exercising requires commitment. You need to commit to a certain routine to get results.
This means any constant physical activity can instill responsibility and discipline among children at a time they need to learn this stuff.
The results are immediate, too. If they don’t follow through, they’ll know they’re lacking in results right away.
If they don’t train for baseball, for example, they won’t be able to hit or chase that ball – not unless they try harder. This is another thing physical education can teach – that you can always try again until you get your desired result. But first, you need self-discipline.
Did you know that sports engage and enlarge the basal ganglia of the brain? This is the part responsible for motor movement. It’s also associated with other functions like eye movements, emotion, and cognition.
What this means for your child is that sports also lead to an enhancement in focus and concentration. They can exercise these abilities as sports require an intense amount of both. In the age of distractions in the form of digital media, this becomes a much-needed activity.
What’s great about this is that the other areas of the child’s life can benefit from their enhanced focus and concentration. That includes their hobbies and studies.
Some might think activities will only distract children, but it’s quite the contrary. Improved concentration means improved grades, as well. Their brains will be more receptive to learning and they’ll be able to focus on their studies better.
That’s not all; physical activity also helps them gain energy for studying. Remember when we said it burns calories? It prevents the calories from turning into fat; instead, it turns them into energy.
Does your child have problems with anxiety and other negative emotions? Like we said above, sports affect the part of the brain responsible for controlling emotions. This means they can also improve this aspect through physical education.
Furthermore, physical activity can serve as an outlet for releasing tension and anxiety. This can reduce feelings of fear and worry that may be building up within them.
The effects of physical exercise aren’t only for the short-term either. Stress lowers the immune response. And because physical activity can battle stress, it also prevents that effect.
This, in turn, prevents illnesses. Since exercise can strengthen both the mind and the body, children will be better able to ward off diseases ranging from the common cold to heart disease long-term.
Exercise also boosts serotonin levels, which is popularly associated with feelings of happiness. For that reason, researchers suspect an increase of serotonin helps with depression, too.
With reduced stress, anxiety, and fear, children can perform better in other areas of life, including their focus on math and science.
Of course, the school’s main purpose is to educate children, but it has other benefits too. For instance, it provides a good environment for social interactions to take place.
Children learn how to assimilate with other people. They learn valuable people skills, like making friends, communicating your ideas, gaining confidence, and more. These are skills that help them further their careers.
How does physical education play into this? For one, it enhances all the social skills we mentioned above and more.
Playing with other people can strengthen camaraderie, especially when playing in teams. They learn how to cooperate and work with other like-minded people to achieve a common goal.
It helps them find a place because, in a team, everyone has an important function to perform. In sports, they learn how to accept a loss gracefully and how to celebrate a win in the right way.
Should they perform well and given a leadership role, this is also a good chance for them to learn how to lead people. Yes, this also translates to their careers later.
A good school provides a good balance of physical activity and academics to help round up a student into a good adult. It’s not true that we only need to learn reading, writing, math and science. There are valuable skills a child can earn from physical education.
But why stop here when there’s more to discover? Now that you’ve learned the importance of physical education, contact us to learn more.