Physical education in schools is becoming a popular discussion topic. Are children getting enough gym class time? Is the amount of physical activity directly correlated with their test scores? More and more studies are indicating that a good physical education is vital in growing healthier, smarter and more creative young people.
For years, gym class has been seen as a necessity in schools. Children have a need to be active and they thrive when instructors let them play organized sports and games. Scientists are beginning to understand why exactly this physical activity makes them thrive.
Aside from the obvious need to let children have a physical outlet for energy, some scientists see a correlation between physical education and mental health. Children that are more active are showing signs of higher amounts of serotonin. This compound acts as a neurotransmitter and has shown connections to an increased sense of health, happiness and well-being. Greater amounts of serotonin in the bloodstream can quite simply mean happier children.
Children who exercise also show an increased understanding of their bodies and how they work. This education can lead to children having greater self-awareness and a healthier self-image. Most children will be able to see the connection between exercise and change in muscle, fat or otherwise. They will be willing to establish a healthy relationship with exercise as a lifestyle choice and a good way to keep their bodies in the best shape.
Children who are enrolled in physical education, usually receive instruction in health, including nutrition. Children then begin to understand that when they eat healthy they have greater amounts of energy to expend in games and sports. Like exercise, they begin to learn that healthy eating is a lifestyle choice and one that can positively impact the growth of the skeletal and muscular systems. Children learn to take pride in affecting their growth through their food choices, and may cause them to become adults with healthy habits.
Finally, exercise positively affects the way children think. There are studies linking children in physical education classes with having higher test scores. Adults have been told for years that living an active lifestyle will keep them from losing reasoning skills and stops early memory loss. Exercise has been proven to promote brain growth. Now, we are beginning to see that the same brain growth occurs in physically active children. Kids who exercise show greater reasoning, critical thinking and memory skills.
Principals, coaches, teachers and parents alike are recognizing the necessity of keeping physical education in schools. No longer is it seen as a frivolous part of the day. Learning about exercise and how to exercise is promoting mentally and emotionally healthy children. These children are showing an increased understanding of their minds and bodies and how to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat properly. Perhaps most importantly, they are acquiring skills and habits necessary to become a healthy adult.