Physical Education Tied To Long Term Health Improvement In Children

Happy child group playing  on beachWhen I was in school we had physical education every day. Even if a child did not participate in a specific sport after school they at least were expected to spend a half hour every day out in the sunshine playing  a sport or engaging in some other method of physical fitness such as running the obstacle course. That was on top of two 15 minute recesses and a half hour lunch break, all spent out of doors.

Unfortunately the way our school systems are now structured our children are lucky if they receive 20 minutes of time outside the classroom in a six hour day. The statistics are scary for today’s children; diabetes, obesity and asthma are rated in the United States to be among the highest in the world. Our children are growing up to become less and less active with each passing generation.

Parents today must learn to play a more active role in their child’s development; for far too long most parents have relied on the school system to provide both mental and physical education. The only way a child will successful learn to incorporate activity in their daily lives is by learning from their parents. Even if it is only a short walk taken after dinner at least it is some sort of physical activity that involves both the child and the parent. A child who learns at a young age the importance of physical activity will be able to carry that through to their adult life, where staying active is just as important.

Our bones become strong and remain strong throughout our lives not just due to the nutrition we provide them, but also because of the physical activities we perform on a regular basis. Stop using your bones to bear weight and they start to become fragile, brittle, and subject to breaking easily. Eventually osteoporosis can set in and regular bone loss occurs which can cause a loss in height and stooped back.

Encouraging a child to play sports after school is easier if the child has an example in their parents. A father or mother who enjoys playing softball, jogging or other activity will be able to engage their child in that sport at a very young age as all young children want to do what mommy or daddy is doing. Team sports can teach a child to stay physically active and also help to teach the principles of working with and being loyal to a team. Team sports are a way of teaching your child how to work well with other people, deal with conflict, and learn how to win and lose gracefully.

Children who engage in sports while in school are learning valuable life lessons; they are learning the importance of staying physically fit, learning how to be accepting of themselves and of others, and learning how to play well with others. There are things that a child will learn on a sports field that just cannot be taught in a classroom or at home.