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Children need physical education more than ever Print E-mail
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Written by By Kristen Jimenez   
Thursday, 11 February 2016 00:00

Nine times out of ten, students complain to their Physical Education teachers about being out in the hot sun, running around for no reason. Perhaps in lower level education, children see it as a means of escaping the classroom, but as we grow older, it’s simply looked upon as a huge waste of time and energy. However, if we look at our education system, Physical Education is allotted an entire period of the day, maybe because it is essential to students, or at least, it should be. Most people tend to believe that physical activity is only necessary when large amounts of fat build up in the body over a period of time. Engaging in acts of physical activity from a young age is very important for both the mental and physical health of a child; the habits learnt in youth tend to continue onto adulthood, thus having an effect on the prevalence of obesity and related illnesses in society. Teachers play a major role in ensuring that children, who will later grow into youths then adults, participate in physical activity from the very beginning of receiving an education.

The benefits of physical activity are vast. Physical activity has been associated with an increased life expectancy in adults so its importance is obvious, but its value in children sometimes needs to be justified. It is never too early to start teaching a child positive behaviors and habits; however, in middle childhood (ages 6-10) children tend to be in a stage of development where they think very literally they will absorb everything you teach, do, and say and are incredibly influential. It is this stage of development that they are most likely to be taught healthy eating habits, develop exercise programs and have an interest in organized sports. Young people will carry established healthy behaviors throughout their lives such as better eating habits, but very few will actually fit exercise into their daily routines.

With schools now eliminating physical activity from their curriculums, more and more students begin to stray away from the idea of doing such activities. However, when approaching tertiary education level, students begin to look at these sporting activities as a way to perfect a developing skill so that it can further lead to possible career opportunities. Belize being a very minute competitor compared to the rest of the world is already discouraging to these youths who wish to pursue their futures in sports. Should schools completely eliminate physical activities, children will be restricted from even gaining an interest in sports; thus Belize as a developing country suffers from the lack of potential international athletes. When few Belizeans go out and make a name for themselves, we all benefit as a society.

Physical activity is one of the most important things we all can and should do to keep our body in healthy shape.  By physical activity it doesn’t only mean the vigorous weight lifting, running, aerobics, martial arts, games and sports, but also the modest thing such as jogging, walking, and swimming. There are many health conditions that don’t require a pill to be swallowed every day on a routine basis but a tiny amount of time invested in physical activities are worth it. It is always anticipated that the more active we are, the more we will benefit. Physical activities are beneficial for both mental and physical health. It has also been considered as a tool for boosting up social life.

People, who see exercise as a total waste of time, should understand that exercise is essential to life because it not only prevents us from being susceptible to diseases, but it also teaches us how to be disciplined in the sense that we have complete control over our bodies and its outcome. Today we live in an environment where we get more unhealthy foods and beverages for a lesser cost, which in turn promotes greater consumption, and unhealthier children, youths and adults.