So why do only 3.8% of elementary schools, 7.9% of middle schools, and 2.1% of US high schools provide daily physical education. And many of these programs do not meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Children of 60 mins. of physical activity per day.
Eliminating physical education and recess so that more time can be spent preparing for standardized testing is shortsighted and small minded. Numerous studies have shown that physical activity can enhance mental clarity and boost academic achievement. Howell Wechsler, Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health for the CDC and his colleagues reviewed fifty studies that examined the effect of school-based physical activity on academic performance.
• Recess can improve students’ attention and concentration and ability to stay on task.
• Increased time in PE classes can help children’s attention and concentration and achievement test scores.
• Short physical activity breaks of about 5 to 20 minutes in the classroom can improve attention span.
• Participation in sports teams and physical activity clubs, often organized by the school and run outside of the regular day can improve grade point average, school attachment, educational aspirations and the likelihood of graduation.
How do you feel if you miss your daily bout of physical activity for one or more days? Sluggish, heavy, less mental clarity, low energy, edgy, a bit depressed. Even a stretch break or a brief walk mid day can rev you up for the tasks at hand.
Just another amazing benefit of regular physical activity. So get out and lobby your school district to include daily physical education for all grade levels. It’s time to help kids get fit and stay focused!