Physical education is not considered an important part of education by many schools across India today. Schools do not realize the importance of including physical education as part of the curriculum. The focus is more about scoring marks and clearing entrance exams. Not surprisingly, many children lead sedentary lifestyles and obesity in children is on the rise.
Good quality physical education is required to improve the physical health, self-worth and general well-being of a child. This can also be an avenue for children who aspire for a career in sports as well.
So why do children need physical education?
There are many benefits of participating regular physical activities. Some of them include:
Good Physical Growth
Regular physical activity helps develop strong muscles and bones and keep a person fit from an early age. Encouraging physical education at schools can also help in controlling obesity among kids. Multiple research across the world has proved beyond doubt that obesity is associated with serious health problems such as diabetes, heart problems, breathing issues, hormonal imbalances and more.
Here are some specifics about the advantages of physical activity:
- Strong cardiovascular system
Children who participate in a regular physical activity or in sports, tend to develop a strong heart and strong lung capacity. Physical activity causes the heart to pump more making it stronger. When one exercise, the lungs have to take in more oxygen. This improves the overall oxygen taking the capacity of the lungs and helps one stay young and disease free for a long while to come.
Blood pressure is also impacted. Regular exercise leads to optimal blood pressure levels and better good cholesterol levels as well.
- Stronger Immunity
Exercise builds stronger immunity to disease. Children who play regularly are less prone to allergies, cough, cold and other common ailments.
- Strong bones and muscle
Children who exercise develop strong muscles and bones and improves endurance.
- Lower chances of Type 2 diabetes
Physical activity increases insulin sensitivity and helps in metabolizing carbohydrates better, thereby greatly reducing the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Reduction in Stress
In today’s world, stress is inevitable. Even children are under a lot of stress. The stress of exams, and pressure from peers, parents, and friends as well. Participating in sports or some form of physical activity helps reduce some of this stress.
Any form of physical activity produces endorphins, chemicals that pass signals from one brain cell to the next. Endorphins help improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Exercise also has the ability to improve mood, outlook, and quality of sleep while it helps banish depression, anxiety, and nerves.
After a hard day at school, playing some sport or games is a good way to let off all the stress and pent-up energy.
Improved mental fitness
Indulging in some form of physical activity also improves your mental alertness levels. According to a study, children who were put through a 13-week exercise program showed marked improvement in math skills than others outside of this study.
Good brain health and executive function lead to good academic performance. The basic cognitive functions that link up with attention and memory help learning. These functions are made easier by regular physical activity and higher aerobic fitness sports and exercises.
Improved confidence and self-worth
A child’s confidence and self-esteem develop rapidly with physical activities. As they learn to master a game or a skill, their confidence improves. The better they get, the more confident they become. Through games and exercise, children learn leadership skills and are empathetic. They also learn to become more assertive, independent and self-controlled.
Shaping future sportsmen and women
Some children are naturally inclined to sports. A good physical education teacher can help spot these talented children and hone them for a career in sports. With proper help and support, these children can also go on to represent their country in the future.
In conclusion, multiple research and studies prove beyond doubt that any form of consistent physical activity is required for a long and healthy life. Children who participate in sports and physical activities such as games and exercises stay healthy and in shape in the long run.
Schools should ensure that apart from the time set for studying and learning, students should also be given several physical activity breaks that can help shape their minds and skills for the academic and all-round development of the child.
As John F Kennedy, former US President, rightly said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”