Physical education is when an individual has sufficient energy to enjoy life and avoid fatigue (Landy & Burridge, 2009). It has been suggested that well conducted physical education programs can result in increased activity levels during the school day as well as increased active living outside the school setting (Morrow, Jackson & Payne, 1999). This is why it is beneficial that both schools and families encourage physical education to children.
Physical activity brings many health benefits for young children, these include: strengthening bones and muscles, improve gross and fine motor skills, helps to maintain a healthy body weight and provides the child with more energy (Landy, Burridge, 2009). These main health benefits along with other valuable health benefits will be discussed in great detail throughout this essay in relation to the benefits of physical education for young children. Strengthening muscles and bones should be looked at as soon as the child reaches 6 months of age.
It is crucial for a child to strengthen their muscles and bones as this will help them during physical activity and also in their everyday life. Strong bones and muscles prevent the child from being injured easily. Dense bones are essential to good posture, strength and balance (Gilbert, n. d. ). The quality of a child bones and muscles has a direct impact on energy. Physical activity has a large impact on strengthening and building a child’s bones and muscles which is why it is such a crucial part of child care and school programs.
One of physical educations unique contributions to the education of all children is motor skill performance (Martin, Rudisill & Hastie, 2009). Physical activity helps to improve a child’s fine and gross motor skills. Gross motor skills being body management, locomotion and object control (Landy, Burridge, 2009). The physical education teachers must provide climates that support the learning of movement skills for this to be effective (Marti, Rudisill & Hastie, 2009).
Different motor skills can be incorporated into the physical education lessons using tasks such as bouncing and dribbling a ball, jumping and running, as well as skipping and hopping. Gross motor skills are absolutely beneficial for children to learn at an early age as current research suggests that if children do not reach a degree of competence and confidence in motor skills by sixth grade they will not pursue regular activity as an adult, leading us onto an increase in obesity and health problems.
Obesity is becoming even more common in young children and it is seen as a functional disability. An obese child is affected both physically and psychologically” (Landy & Burridge, 2009). With physical education being a regular part of the school program obesity is less likely to occur as children are more active and exercise is more accessible to them. Physical education gives the child regular exercise and also teaches them about a healthy diet, and this is where good health comes from (Landy & Burridge, 2009). “Physical education is an important contributor to decreasing the incidence of obesity and helping adolescents who are attempting to lose weight using ineffective techniques” (Morrow, Jackson & Payne, 1999).
It is imperative for children to maintain a healthy weight throughout childhood as this will set them on the right path for their teenage and adult years. Youth who spend less time in other subjects to allow for physical education have been shown to do equally well or better in academic classes (Morrow, Jackson & Payne, 1999). Physical education does not take away from the children’s learning time, rather it gives them more energy and willingness to learn. Physical education benefits childrens physical working capacity, and it can lead to better academic performances (Gabbard & LeBlanc, 1986).
Physical education awakens the child’s brain and gives them more energy and focus on their work. Physical education contributes to greater individual productivity for physical, as well as mental tasks (Gabbard & LeBlanc, 1986). “Being fit helps in the development of a desirable self-concept” (Gabbard & LeBlanc, 1986). Children must realise that ‘energy cannot be stored like food or money. It must be a regular occurance’ (Landy & Burridge, 2009). Educators and parents must reinforce this through daily physical activity; this being the grounds as to why physical education in schools and homes is a valuable and positive thing.
Physical education informs the children why physical activity and healthy eating is a key part of a healthy life, it also encourages them to do physical activity and eat well for the rest of their life. During the early years is when the child learns the most, this is why physical education is crucial right from the start. There is no negative side to physical education and it can only be a benefit to young children as it strenghtens their bones and muscles, keeps them active and energised, helps to improve their motor skills and also keeps them at a healthy body weight.