Originally posted on uprunforlife.com, April 7, 2017.
Disclosure: This conversation is sponsored by the Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson. All opinions and ideas are 100% my own.
Are schools trying to eliminate physical education and recess? With obesity on the rise, Al Baker found that many schools are eliminating physical education and time that children are spending at recess. I remember growing up that in elementary school we had a full class period of physical education every day. Once, I started middle school things changed. We were only required to take half a semester of physical education. If we weren’t in physical education classes, we had the option to participate in athletics.
Now that I am a mom, I am more concerned with them cutting out physical education and recess from my child’s day. They have already scaled it back compared to when I was in school and innocent children are suffering the consequences. Most children don’t get enough exercise outside of school and with the cutbacks at school. Now even more children are getting less than the CDC’s minimum recommended 60 minutes of exercise on a weekly basis. Also, research shows kids need physical activity and P.E. programs can help kids meet that goal. This topic makes me so sad.
Parents, if your child’s district continues to reduce your child’s physical education and recess time, it is up to you to stick up for your child/children. It is up to you to be an advocate for your child/children. Kids shouldn’t have to give up physical education because of more pressure for them to achieve more time for core class, increased stress levels, or be excluded due to where they reside.
Today, I have partnered with the Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson, to share with you some very important reasons why your child’s physical education and recess time shouldn’t be scaled back. Instead, schools should be restoring physical education and recess programs so that kids have access to it on a daily basis.
EXERCISE HELPS KEEP YOUR CHILD’S HEART HEALTHY
The heart has a huge job making sure that their body is adequately pumping blood and inactivity during the day leaves them vulnerable to a lifetime of health problems. When I think of exercising, I think of going to the gym; however, kids don’t have to spend time in a gym in order to get an adequate amount of daily exercise. Instead, kids can spend ample amounts of time playing and running around even on the playground.
Physical education helps introduce your child to a variety of sports, games that involve physical activity, and they are able to spend time just playing on the playground. Even if your child has access to P.E. every day, parents should also help incorporate ways for their child to exercise outside of school day too. Additional exercise will help kids meet the CDC’s recommended minimum of 60 minutes a week engaging in physical activity. Adequate exercise helps strengthen your child’s heart and keep them healthy.
REDUCES THEIR STRESS LEVEL
School districts are putting more stress on teachers to teach children the core classes. Educators are forgetting about how the stress trickles down to the children too. Children are now expected to spend hours studying at home; in addition, kids are spending 7 or more hours engaging in learning new material. Without physical education and recess, kids no longer have a way to help release their stress levels.
HELPS THEM FOCUS
How well do you function when you don’t get time away from your job? Kids aren’t any different. They need more than one break during the day away from learning in order to have the ability to focus all of their attention in the classroom. P.E. class and recess help give children the opportunity to burn off their excess energy so that they don’t have pent up energy. Pent up energy often leaves them fidgeting and inattentive which defeats the purpose of increased classroom time.
IMPROVES THEIR MENTAL HEALTH
Children today are more sedentary than previous generations as they are spending more and more time behind a screen. I remember spending time outside after I finished my homework. I would spend time playing with my friends, riding my bicycle, or participating in extra-curricular activities.
It is proven that children who get adequate amounts of exercise are generally happier and don’t suffer from ailments such as depression or anxiety. Exercise helps release natural “feel good” hormones and helps ward off mental illnesses. Parents need to realize that untreated depression isn’t healthy and it can lead to risky behaviors even in children and teens.
TEACHES CHILDREN THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE
I think P.E. classes are a great way to teach children about the importance of daily exercising. As I mentioned earlier, P.E. classes typically introduce a wide variety of different types of exercises to children so that they have the opportunity to find a variety of physical activities that they enjoy.
Children learn by example. They need positive role models who emphasize encourage them to exercise. When children don’t have the opportunity to participate in daily exercises, they can take the information that they learn to apply it outside of the classroom. The more they learn the more likely they will continue to exercise well into their adult life if they are forced to take classes from grades K through 12th grade.
HELPS PREVENT CHILDHOOD OBESITY
Regular exercise helps prevent obesity. Children are spending countless hours sitting during school hours and spending more time at home playing video games or watching hours of television. Kids who live a sedentary lifestyle are at risk of becoming obese at an early age.
Any time that children are able to spend time in P.E. or recess is still better than not exercising at all. Extended time at school for exercise will help even further prevent obesity.
ABOUT ESSA (EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT):
- Under ESSA (the federal education law), all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education.
- We’re advocating for physical education to be included in every state’s ESSA plans. With the passage of the federal education bill at the end of 2015, 2017 presents an important opportunity to help drive awareness of the need for local and state action on PE, as State Departments of Education prepare their plans.
- Unlike previous federal education law, ESSA includes physical education (PE) and health as part of a “well-rounded curriculum” — this means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding!
- But here’s the thing: inclusion of health and PE in ESSA is not a mandate. We need to advocate for daily PE to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE. If PE is not included in the plan, it won’t have access to funding!
Do you know if your school district is trying to reduce or eliminate P.E. and recess? Join me and help protect PE and recess by joining the Action Team here: www.voicesforhealthykids.org/PE.
Want to learn more about how you can work to increase PE in your community? Please visit http://physicaleducation.voicesforhealthykids.org/. As I mentioned earlier, physical education and recess time is an important part of your child’s education and health. I would love it if you would also share this article with family and friends, the more people that voice their opinion and do their part to help save P.E the better.