A physical education program in high schools allows students to develop healthy habits that are beneficial throughout life. The risk of chronic disease later in life is decreased with physical activity. Students who participate in a gym or physical education class have increased learning and are more alert in the classroom. Immune function is increased and stress levels decrease after physical activity.
Reduces Future Risk of Chronic Disease
The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that adults who are physically active on most days of the week are at less risk of premature death from many of the diseases prevalent in the United States. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and some cancers are all diseases that can be reduced through physical activity and exercise. A high school physical education program reduces the risk of developing a chronic disease later in life because healthy habits formed early in life are often carried over into adulthood.
Physical activity can increase cognitive abilities. High school students who are physically fit are generally more alert and receptive to learning. Physical education stresses the importance of self-discipline and goal setting. These two skills are easily transferable into the classroom. High school students benefit greatly from learning these skills in a physical education program and carrying the benefits over into science, math and writing classes.
Improved Communication Skills
Physical education puts students into positions requiring teamwork, cooperation and leadership. High school students benefit from increased peer relationships as they work together during an activity or game. Students interact with each other in ways that are not usually possible in a regular classroom. Physical education allows students to increase interpersonal and communication skills.
Viruses and other illnesses are prevalent in settings requiring large numbers of people to be gathered in one place. School-age students often encounter countless germs and viruses on a daily basis, such as the flu or common cold. A quality physical education program that encourages healthy movement can help improve immunity to many everyday illnesses. Physical activity also helps to decrease stress. Stress can lead to illness, reduced immunity and missed school. Decreasing stress through physical education programs can reduce time spent out of school because of illness.
- Physical Education in Schools: Both Quantity and Quality are Important
- Top 10 Reasons for Quality Physical Education
- Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport: Effects of Health-Related Physical Education on Academic Achievement: Project SPARK
- National Center for Disease Control and Prevention: At-A-Glance
- National Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Participation in High School Physical Education
- Phit America: Physical Education Producing Fit Bodies and Minds
Amy Pearson earned dual bachelor's degrees in management and horticulture. She is a licensed elementary teacher for kindergarten through sixth grades. Pearson specializes in flower and vegetable gardening, landscape design, education, early childhood and child development.