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Physical Education is a stress reliever that helps students learn better

By Grace Kirigha | Apr 29th 2015 | 2 min read

NAIROBI: Due to the competitive nature of our academic system, some teachers tend to take over physical education (PE) lessons to teach other subjects, which they consider more important. Also, there is always a rush to complete the syllabus and as such, any time considered idle, will be utilised for this.

PE is one of those subjects. Many students, however, look forward to PE. It is one of the most exciting lessons in the school timetable for them. When a teacher, therefore, decides to push the syllabus for another subject during a PE lesson, chances are that the objectives will not be achieved since the students will switch off, knowing that they would be running all over in the fields instead.

The school system should produce an all-rounded child; it should provide for their overall development and as such, they must participate in physical activities like sports and exercises. PE is very important mainly because it offers students a mental break from academics. It is one lesson that prepares students to be physically and mentally active.

This is why PE important:

Fitness: It keeps students fit and healthy. Obesity is a common problem among many children. If it is not tackled now, it may lead to lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease, among others. Physical activity help students burn calories and strengthen the immune system.

Self-esteem: PE improves one’s physical fitness. A fit and healthy student has a high self-esteem and confidence. Regardless of age, everyone wants to look good. Obese students more often than not are bullied by their classmates and this tends to affect their confidence, leading to poor academic performance.

Life lessons: Sport activities influence moral development, leadership and team work. Any competition produces winners and losers. This way, the student understands that winning and losing are part of life and should be gracefully accepted. Sport activities also enhance a student’s sense of cooperation since if their team has to win a game, they must all cooperate. It thus also strengthens peer relationships, team building, and teaches goal setting and self-discipline.

Stress management: Students, especially in their adolescence, face a variety of societal pressure leading to stress and anxiety. Taking part in PE is an outlet for releasing tension and anxiety. Participation in physical activities can act as a stress buster for them. Scientists say that exercising reduces the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Exercising regularly also helps the student sleep better, offering the body enough time to rejuvenate. A student who is relaxed will concentrate better in class.

Productivity: Physical activity increases one’s energy levels leading to an improved level of alertness, which leads to improved academic performance, the biggest bonus in the entire exercise.

Thus PE contributes a lot towards making a student grow into a healthy, intelligent and confident adult. It is thus as important as any other subject.

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