When most people think about physical education, they think about running, doing push-ups, and climbing up giant ropes. However, those old days of PE are long gone. Physical education has transformed to be much more than just playing sports. Now, PE takes an individual approach to students, has new standards for activity, uses technology, and makes it fun for all kids.
However, nearly 50% of all institutions in the United States have eliminated physical education, leaving kids without opportunities for structured fitness. In a 2020 UNICEF report, U.S. kids ranked 38th out of 38 countries in physical fitness, proving that our country is clearly not on the right track. Here’s how physical education benefits kids and why it needs to be in schools:
Improves Academic Results - Exercise is beneficial for our brains and helps us learn more. By keeping physical education in schools, we can help students stay fit and also improve their academic results because of the exercise they are getting.
Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Depression - Physical activity helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by increasing the production of endorphins, which are your brain’s neurotransmitters for feeling good. Just like with improving academic results, physical education in schools gives children the opportunity to get active at school, resulting in healthier kids, both physically and mentally.
Develops a Child’s Character and Builds Confidence - Physical activity also benefits children by building their confidence and character. When you exercise, you feel better about yourself and your own well-being. Physical education in schools allows children to interact with one another, develop leadership skills, and help them to feel confident about themselves.
Reduces the Number of Kids Smoking and Doing Drugs - When children are physically active they are less likely to start smoking or doing drugs. Many children primarily focus on playing sports and therefore do not get into smoking or doing drugs because they want to perform their best. Physical education in schools allows children to learn how to play different sports, get interested in joining a team, and stay fit, which helps to avoid getting into smoking or doing drugs.
Leads to Less Obesity, Diabetes, Diseases, and Illnesses - Exercising regularly also boosts your immune system and helps your body battle illnesses like colds and the flu. Being physically fit also decreases your risk of becoming obese or developing diabetes. By keeping physical education in schools, children can be more active during the week, become healthier, and therefore decrease their risk of disease and illness.
Improves National Security - In order to join the military, you have to be in shape. Today nearly 75% of teens would not meet the fitness requirements to join. Making sure schools provide physical education to students is a vital step in making sure the younger generations in this country are fit enough to serve in the military.
Fosters Life-Long Well-Being - Physical activity helps to foster life-long well-being. When we exercise regularly, we are more likely to be healthier and happier throughout our lives. This can increase our lifespan, help us avoid diseases, and even save us money on healthcare costs like surgeries and expensive medications. Learning the importance of being active as a child in physical education can help create a lifelong commitment to fitness.
At PHIT America Foundation, we believe that physical education is a necessity in schools in order to build a healthier future for our children. We aim to improve the physical and mental health of children all across the United States by providing kids with increased physical activity programs, like our AMPED programs, getting physical education back in schools, and helping children afford to play organized sports. Find out how you can get involved and bring an AMPED program to a school near you!