Objectives of Physical Education

The Roman poet Juvenal likely did not have physical education objectives in mind when he wrote the line "a sound mind in a sound body." But in true poetic fashion that one line sums up the spectrum of goals and objectives for physical education.

From the earliest years of a person's life throughout adulthood, physical activity has a beneficial effect on both the body and the mind. Active people are healthier-physically and mentally. Physically active students generally do better in school, reports Ellen Greenlaw at WebMD. Physically active adults are happier and may postpone or avoid the onset of devastating, age-related disease.

Objectives for physical education in school age population

Active children will likely become active adults. They have learned the joy of movement, the satisfaction of participating as a member of a team, the importance of setting and achieving a goal.

While objectives may vary slightly from state to state, they generally include:

  • Improved fitness and reduced obesity levels
  • Increased strength, endurance, balance and gross motor skills
  • Enhanced ability to work cooperatively with others to solve problems
  • Improved individual self-esteem and confidence
  • Increased respect for others
  • More clearly defined concept of good sportsmanship

The ideal time each day for student physical activity is a full hour. When schools cannot provide that each day, it is crucial that parents and community leaders offer alternatives that keep kids moving and engaged in either individual or team activities.

Benefits of being physically active

WebMD reports the following benefits of a solid physical education program:

  • Higher grades. Being active during the school day helps concentration and increases blood flow to the brain.
  • Better sleep. A good night's sleep helps students perform at their peak during the day. Good sleep may also play a role in improving memory and recall.
  • Improved social skills. It really is one of the few times during the day when children can interact with one another.

Regular, vigorous activity also helps children develop healthy, strong bones and helps reduce stress and depression.

A healthy population in general

The objectives for physical activity for all people are listed in detail at the government's HealthyPeople Web site. Many of these objectives are amazingly simple and inexpensive to implement. For instance:

  • Increase the number of trips made by walking or biking both by children and adults
  • Increase recess time in the nation's public schools

When states are trying to get the most for their educational dollar, stressing physical activity may be overlooked. And that's exactly the wrong direction to take. A solid physical education program may add the vital spark to the educational setting that boosts learning.

Simply by having the population get up and get moving could help reduce many of the nation's health and social problems. Team sports are a great way to get people involved. But encouraging individual activity is also important and far easier to implement.

Providing safe, attractive areas for people to get out and play does not cost much, really. And providing recreational sites is far less expensive than paying the huge medical costs associated with inactivity. The objectives of physical education-a sound mind in a sound body-make for a stronger population. In classical times, the times of the poet Juvenal, people felt it was their patriotic duty to be fit.

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