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Fitness education is important for students

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A healthy body breeds a healthy mind. Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-founder and CEO , Next Education Pvt ltd, explains why physical education is important for students

In an attempt to emphasise on students’ physical fitness and promote a healthy life among students, CBSE has mandated health and physical education as a subject for classes 9 to 12 from the current academic session, 2018-19. During the mandatory daily sports period, students are expected to go to the playground and  engage in any of the physical activities listed in the manual issued by CBSE. However, CBSE had previously encouraged yoga practice in schools too. The NCERT had rolled out a yoga curriculum for primary and secondary classes and also mulled over making yoga a compulsory subject. The motive behind such attempts is to promote a healthy lifestyle among  students.

Moreover, a healthy body breeds a healthy mind. The latest circular by CBSE mentions that, “Health is often a state of social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”  In the wake of crimes and bullying in the cyberspace as well as the real world, which undeniably affect students, a healthy mind can boost their confidence and drive them to face challenges.  

Benefits of Physical Education
Develops 21st century skills

Research shows that regular exercise improves the functioning of the brain. It argues that games improve problem-solving skills in students, which in turn can help students improve in their academics. It also helps students improve on skills such as creativity, collaboration and critical-thinking, which are beneficial to have in the 21st century. For instance, collaboration is required to perform several physical activities like sports. It fosters  sportsmanship in students from a tender age.

Develops motor skills
Physical education enhances motor skills and improves reflexes in students. Sports activities also develop hand-eye coordination and contribute to good body posture in individuals. Developing and acquiring these skills can help a child in all aspects of life. For instance, hand-eye coordination is essential for performing everyday tasks such as driving a car or stitching a button to a shirt.

Bridges gender gaps
Research shows that girls lose the motivation to play sports after the age of seven. This could be a result of self-consciousness or loss of confidence. In fact, it has been observed that boys participate more in sports than girls. However, a compulsory period dedicated to physical education could mitigate such disparities. Teachers should  encourage girl students and motivate them to participate actively.

Physical and mental health
Physical activities, from an early age, reduce the risk of obesity and other diseases caused by inactivity and sedentary lifestyle. Also, inculcating the habit of indulging in physical activities in kids results in a lifelong love for fitness.  It contributes to good mental health too. Regular activity also makes students energetic, which can encourage them to adopt new hobbies.

Physical Literacy
There is less or almost no physical and fitness literacy in India. The meaning of physical literacy is more than merely physical fitness. It could be defined as a disposition that prompts humans beings to feel motivated and possess physical competence and knowledge. It encourages them to pursue physical activities and make it a part of their lifestyle. Though  students are introduced to fitness literacy with physical education in schools, it should remain with them throughout their lives.

Junk food, sedentary lifestyle and work-related stress  are harming human beings in more ways than they can think of. Fitness literacy can help individuals battle these in the long run and school is a good place to start inculcating awareness about this in students. 

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