The Need for Fitness in Schools
After school, students are not as active as they used to be. Walking to and from school has been replaced by riding in cars or busses, outside playtime and sports has been replaced by TV, video games and the internet. Parents are busier than ever and often don’t have the time or resources to ensure their child gets enough activity every day.
In school, PE classes and sports programs have been reduced or cut altogether. Schools have now scheduled less active time and more sedentary time into the student days than ever before. The nation-wide implementation of the rigorous Common-Core standards and the prevalence of state exams in elementary school will increase the amount of serious study time in the schools. Combined with budget cuts and intense pressure to increase test scores, administrators are at a loss as to how what to do.
On the days when students do have PE, only sometimes do they spend the whole time engaged in vigorous activity. Many PE classes focus on learning a sport, which is valuable, but doesn’t always translate into sustained physical activity. When kids don’t have the chance to be active, they become sluggish and lethargic or restless and anxious. Either way, it’s hard for them to pay attention in class.
If the students do have a great sports-based program, they still need a fitness program. Not all kids are athletic or enjoy competition, but all kids have the need for regular exercise everyday. Students who don’t excel at sports for whatever reason begin to think that they just aren’t good at any kind of physical activity. Not being good at sports as a child can eventually translate into not enjoying any kind of physical activity as an adult. In fact, only 3% of adults stay in shape by playing sports.
Children need to learn tools that they can use for a lifetime of fitness. Support your school’s PE program, let them know that it’s a priority and inquire about the amount of physical activity your children have each day.