More and more I see less emphasis on physical education in schools and I ask myself, why has the accumulation of letters and GPAs become more important than taking care of our own body? Is it such a burden and hassle to simply maintain basic health? Research has shown that physical fitness not only increases attention spans while in class but also has the potential to increase grades, decrease bullying and restlessness among students and also help with depression.
How? you might ask? Well, very simply, if you put a wild animal such as an elephant or a tiger in a very small area with room to move, what do you think will happen? All sorts of physical and mental issues will manifest. The same thing happens with humans, we send our kids off to school and expect them to sit still and retain attention on new subjects sitting in a desk that destroys backs, all for 6-7 hours a day and then we come up with things like ADD.
The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey & Eric Hagerman outlines the numerous benefits of implementing a proper physical education program in schools for students. While more research is coming out about this, I think we still greatly underestimate the effects that this has on not only our physical wellbeing but mental wellbeing as well.
We are not designed to sit for long periods of time it goes against our very nature, so when we force children to sit for long periods of times at critical developmental stages in their life, issues are going to arise. There need to be more research and emphasis on how to implement a good physical education system wit in schools that ill not only help them during teen years but further on in life as well.