Ever or so pupils will sit and listen

Ever since primary
are repeatedly told we need to do sixty minutes of physical activity every day
in order to stay healthy. The school will happily tell us the importance of the
sixty minutes through assemblies, PSE lessons and videos and every month or so
pupils will sit and listen to sports representatives who would come and present
an hour talk on the importance of exercise. At the end of this a leaflet will
be handed out with a list of all the local activities pupils could attend these
will usually be binned without even leaving the school, or crumpled up and
thrown in a school bag to be forgotten about. School will think this will be
enough to inspire us to become active. It won’t. For many pupils the only
exercise they get is the thirty minutes of PE provided once a week. This is not
enough. For a child to receive anywhere near the recommended time, PE should be
taught every day with every year group.

The number of
overweight schoolchildren in the UK is almost two million, of which about
700,000 are obese. Do you find these figures shocking? I don’t. Frankly I’m not
surprised. Not with the ever rising popularity of technology, more children are
sitting in their rooms zombie-like with their eyes glued to a screen, rather
than outside enjoying the fresh air and exercising. This won’t phase parents as
they’ll think the school will provide their child with the physical activity
they need. They are wrong. For example, in my year there is one core fifty
minute lesson of PE a week. Now let’s minus the 20 minutes for getting changed
and setting up equipment. That’s 30 minutes- 30 minutes a week of PE! This will
not have any effect on the 700,000 overweight children, but 30 minutes of PE
Monday to Friday would. Although it wouldn’t completely eradicate the number of
overweight children, it will significantly lower it.

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Think about the
effects on the economy. £47billion is spent annually dealing with the
healthcare and social costs of the continuously increasing overweight
population, notably more than what is spent on the police and fire services.
This alarming figure is because of the 64% of adults in the UK who are
overweight or obese, many of these people they have been obese since childhood.
This need to be changed. How can that be done I hear you ask? The solution is
to cut the level of childhood obesity so less of these children will grow up
into adulthood obesity. This can be done by introducing PE into schools daily.
People can argue daily PE would take too much valuable time out the school
schedule, but this is simply not true: in the past year an activity called the
daily mile has been introduced to primary schools all across Scotland. This
involves primary pupil’s children taking 20 minutes out of their school day to
go outside in the fresh air and walk a mile this requires no equipment or
change of uniform. The daily mile was introduced to lower the rapidly
increasing number of overweight and obese children. And has worked. At St
Ninians Primary School’s the level of obesity in pupils dropped 45% below the
national average as a result of the daily mile being enforced. The introduction
of this into every primary school would have outstanding snowball effect. There
would be a decrease on the number of obese children, leading to a decrease in
the number of obese adults, therefore leading to a significant decrease of the
disturbing £47 billion spent yearly on treating obesity, lastly leading to an
increase of money that can be spend on furthering the NHS or other essential
services.

PE is generally
unpopular with students, especially girls. So expectedly it did not go down
well when my school announced PE was to be mandatory for every year group,
unlike previous years when core PE was dropped after 4th year. I was originally
unhappy about this, but then I asked myself why. After thinking long and hard,
I could not muster up one reason to justify my hatred for PE. And then it hit
me. It was the stigma. The stigma that PE is unenjoyable and is for the
unacademic. If PE was to be taught every day, this stigma could hopefully be
eradicated and PE would no longer unliked. Another reason PE is so unpopular
with is body image. We live in a society where ‘perfect bodies’ of men and
women are plastered all over the media, from adverts to newspapers. And young
people are feeling under pressure young people compare themselves to these
unrealistic images and see they don’t look like them, this can make them feel
extremely self-conscious. No wonder 53% of teenage girls feel like they should be
on a diet. As they feel self-conscious they don’t want to be seen getting
changed in PE as they feel they will be judged- so they don’t take part. But
girls need to realise skipping PE is only making it worse and the only way

The benefits of
exercise aren’t just physical, they are mental too. There are many reasons for
this. Firstly, when you take part in a physical activity, blood flows and
energy levels are increased in all parts of the body. This makes the brain
perform better as it has more energy. A study by Dr. Stewart Trost of Oregon
State University showed as little as 15 minutes of daily exercise improves
concentration levels massively, especially in young children, therefore
exercise make you more focused. And finally physical activity is similar to
meditation as it works out your attention muscles. So by doing PE regularly
your attention span is increased. Now imagine if PE was introduced daily in
schools. Children would have better brain performance, improved concentration,
and an improved ability to focus, all of this would significantly improve the
quality of school work and help a child succeed.

PE can also help
children for future careers. Sports like football, basketball and doubles
tennis all require various skills like good communication and being able to
work in a team. These are sought by all employers, although many young people
don’t have them. Participating in these sports builds upon and develop these
skills, making young people more employable. Achieving awards and winning
competitions in sports is an amazing thing to put on a CV as it shows you are
determined and working. Participating in sports also gives you the opportunity
to lead teams and teach people the sport this shows you can take charge of a
team and have organisation skills. These all make your CV standout and you
instantly appear more desirable to future employers. Who wouldn’t want that?

Exercise also makes
you feel better. When you exercise vigorously, your brain recognises it as
being in a state of stress. To combat this the brain releases endorphins. These
relieve the stress, make you feel happy and boost confidence. Exercise has an
amazing effect on your self-worth. After completing a tough workout or
achieving a physical goal, you will feel proud of yourself and more confident.
If you are ever consumed in anxious and negative thoughts, exercise will change
your mindset and make you feel more positive. And as we are living in a time
where body shaming and low self-esteem is at an all-time high, something that
can regularly give us that extra boost of confidence and self-worth should be
enforced immediately. That something is PE.

So picture it: a
world where children are happy, healthy and active; a world where confidence
and mental wellbeing is sky high; a world where children are focused,
concentrating and working harder than ever; a world where children are
achieving their goals. This is a world where PE is taught every day to every
student.

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