Bare Necessities: Physical Education

>> Friday, September 11, 2009

Yes, I said it. You can't tell by looking at me, but I'm actually a big advocate for physical education. I believe in how important it is; I wish I was better in practicing this particular form of education.


Well, without any physical activity, your health is at a big disadvantage. Sitting in front of a computer screen is a good way to turn to fat, reduce cardio-vascular capability, muscle tone, and flexibility. And exercising can be great fun.

The thing is, it's easy to get sidetracked from it, and not just for adults. Kids today have cell phones and DVD players and game consoles, etc. Going "outside to play" may require careful planning, particularly in urban areas. As we plug in more and more, biking and hiking or taking the time to exercise are too easily "put off" until we have more time. Often, physical activities that don't have a scheduled time are too easily dismissed.

And, more importantly, when you're young is the best time to develop the kind of habits that can serve you the rest of your life. Unfortunately, too often, physical education involves learning the rules of teams sports that don't interest you (and that you can't do yourself) and calisthenics. Better, in my opinion, to try to teach classes in physical education that interest children and give them a lifelong interest in something, such as martial arts or swimming or even dance, something they can do comfortably in a group, but can also indulge in by themselves.

When I was a kid, I walked everywhere, I played volleyball, I did martial arts. Unfortunately, I didn't do the volleyball and other exercises smartly nor appreciate the damage I was doing to my knees (congenital defect). I didn't appreciate stretching nor did I develop good habits. I've fallen in love with a number of activities I'm paying for that now.

But none of those reasons are a good enough excuse for my current inactivity. And I set a poor example to my children. But I can change that and am, though not as quickly as I should.

Better for my children if they start out with the good habits now.


  • Aron Sora

    But, the gym classes we have now are... lack luster. Each period had about 45 minuets. We had 5 minuets before and after activities, but during the class time, to change. Then, about 7 minuets taking attendance. Then, we waited as the gym teacher from the 5 classes that meet in the same place discuss what they doing. If we where on the field, we had to walk down there and get equipment.

    I loved gym class in high school, but most of my time was spend talking or studying because of poor planning on the school's part. I wish gym could be a double period like science class.

    Or block schedules, those are epic.

  • Stephanie B

    That's a good point and I meant to touch on that. My gym classes in high school stunk, were dull and taught me nothing. I did enjoy Judo in college and intramural volleyball. The only thing I remember from high school was a lot of running (which, with the volleyball) did a number on my knees.

    It's odd that the martial arts never gave my knees fits. Must have been the stretching.

  • Jeff King


  • The Mother

    Agreed. I am a decent role model, since I do lift weights and do cardio regularly.

    Does it work? NOPE. Can't get the lazy snots off their computers long enough.

    I keep hoping that the fact that their nearly 50 yo MOTHER can outlift them will send my teenage, testosterone laden boys into the gym. I would think they'd be embarrassed down to their socks.

    So far, no luck.

  • Anonymous

    Good physical Education doesn't always have to come from school settings. Also Physical Education class has come along way from how it was just ten years ago. Today physical educators are trained to teach many more things then sports alone. We teach all sorts of skills needed to provide our students with the tools to be healthy. We try and give them a little of everything so when they get to HS they can choose what kind od physical activities they would like to pursue. Its no longer just rolling out the balls.

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