Meet Andrea. A very intelligent brown haired, green eyed ten year old
girl. Like many Canadian children, Andrea spends twenty-five to thirty
hours in school each week- sitting. Andrea’s school kept her mind active.
Too bad they forgot about her body.
She is just one of the thousands of
Canadian children who can’t even run around the block. According to recent
studies, children who participate in daily physical activities are more
fit, have better health habits, and perform better academically. Therefore
it is my belief that all Canadian schools should balance academics with
quality, daily physical education.
School children who participate in daily physical activities are more
fit. In North America, forty percent of all five to eight year olds can be
classified as obese, and beyond the age of twelve only ten percent of
Canadian youth are active enough to receive any kind of health benefit. I
am proud to be among this minority, however; I recognize that our nation is
experiencing a health crisis.
What we need to do (both parents and
students) is encourage the introduction of a new school program, which
develops and maintains cardio-respiratory efficiency, muscular strength,
muscular endurance and flexibility. This program must be for everyone, not
just the elite athlete. We need a program that encourages a positive
attitude towards personal fitness by meeting the needs and interests of all
students. Most importantly, the program must be fun. By providing a
series of planned activities on a daily basis, we can be sure to see a
dramatic increase in physical fitness.
Furthermore, active children will develop better health habits.
students become more aware of their bodies, they will appreciate the
relationship between exercise and health. They will take an interest in
this relationship and become responsible for their personal health care.
In turn, active children will shy away from smoking, alcohol, and substance
abuse. Students will be reluctant to take part in such activities because
they will be fully aware of the negative effects on the body. These
children will also develop a positive attitude towards an active lifestyle.
Continual physical education will instill in the child the desire to
participate and the ability to use leisure time wisely.
A child’s eating
habits will also improve. The active child will choose their foods more
carefully to reflect their new, healthy lifestyle. They will feast on the
natural sugars in apples and oranges, rather than on the sugar of a Twix
bar. And water will be the most refreshing drink on the market. Patterns
developed early in life are likely to be carried on through to adulthood.
What a wonderful life!
A third advantage to vigorous physical activity for the student is
enhanced academic performance.
Exercise increases alertness as well as
energy levels; therefore the active child comes to school ready to learn.
A study done by Taylor & Taylor in 1989 states: “An individual enjoys
improved concentration, enhanced memory and learning, enhanced creativity,
better problem-solving ability, and improved mood state for up to two hours
following exercise.” Students who are comfortable with their bodies tend
to show a general boost in confidence. They become more willing to take
risks in other areas of school life, including academics. Self-confidence
allows a child to participate more freely in the classroom. A child
who exhibits low self-esteem will take fewer risks and undoubtedly miss out
on many opportunities in life.
Sports also allows the student to practice
social skills in an informal environment. Skills such as; co-operation,
responsibility, leadership, communication and self-control. Not only are
these skills essential in the classroom, but they are also essential for a
rewarding and successful life.
Quality, daily physical education means a planned program of
instruction and activity. This program is for all students, to be
exercised on a daily basis, throughout the entire school year. The benefits
are known and the need is obvious.
What could be more important? Now,
just imagine what Andrea could achieve if her mind and body were both