“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” is a common proverb that widely illustrates the vital signs of a physically active lifestyle in a student’s life. In order to perform well at school, a child needs to be physically fit and strong. Physical education fosters emotional, personal, and social wellness by empowering students to attain a total educational experience via a positive, healthy lifelong attitude at the early stages of life. The perks of physical education are many, especially for the young children of this digital era. The screens make kids sit glued to their phones by limiting them to the four walls of the house and thereby adversely affecting their health. The pandemic period of 2 years gave birth to numerous health issues in students such as obesity, weak eyesight, and poor mental health as laptops became the only school, best friend, and leisure time for children.
To begin with, the side effects of neglecting physical education are numerous such as depression, low self -esteem and life-threatening diseases which cannot be overlooked at any cost. First and foremost, when a child suppresses his emotions by engaging in digital activities the development of the brain starts hindering, and as a result, stress and depression occur. Due to anxiety, the brain doesn’t function at an optimal level which as a result affects the overall grades and performance of a student in school. This leads to comparison in a child with his peers and eventually, the confidence shatters adversely which leads to physical and mental illness. According to the report – Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011-2021 conducted in the U.S. on high school students in 2021- 42% (more than 4 out of 10) students felt persistently sad or hopeless and one-third suffered from poor mental health. On top of this, 1 out of 5 students tried to attempt suicide and 10% actually lost their life due to suicide.
However, every problem has a remedy in this world. So, the only ingredient which can solve all the problems stated in the previous paragraph is including physical education in the academic curriculum by giving it prime focus in the early stages of life. Physical education has emotional, physical, social as well as educational benefits which are impossible to neglect in today’s world.
- Emotional benefit – Emotions no doubt plays a vital role in everyone’s life and all throughout the day an individual goes through various positive and negative thoughts as well as feelings. But if one knows how to handle such emotions, then it became very easy to lead a future life ahead in this competitive world. Participation in sports teaches self-control, confidence, teamwork, and anger management which leads to a balance of mind and feelings as stated by National Institute on Aging.
- Physical benefit – In an article written by World Health Organization, it is clearly stated that regular physical activity improves the overall quality of life and well-being by preventing noncommunicable diseases such as heart stroke, and diabetes as well as severe diseases such as cancer. A healthy body is the first step towards a fruitful future ahead. If the body is healthy, then only disease-free long life one can enjoy. Sports develop motor skills and strengthen the muscles of an individual. So, the important education of sports along with the other academic education should be imparted as compulsory education the schools.
- Social benefit (teamwork, discipline) – Leadership skills, as well as team spirit students, learn when the entire team works towards a common goal in games such as cricket, basketball, football, etc. They learn to interact socially and also maintain healthy competition within the game as well as with the opponent also. Regular practice is required for games that generate self-disciple in children and this habit of a disciple is beneficial in all stages of life. Working in a team is required in every phase of life whether it is a cooperative job or entrepreneurship, everyone needs to interact with the group members and a student can learn this vital skill through sports only.
- Educational Benefit – In order to achieve good grades, students need to focus on a particular topic. Studies have proven that there is an increased level of concentration as well as enhanced aptitude in students who get involved in sports activities. In the article “How sports help develops cognitive ability” published by The Hindu on April 30, 2021, it is clearly mentioned that all areas of a child’s life get positively impacted with renewed energy levels and efficiency in academics.
- Management skills – There are numerous skills that get developed when a child is indulged in sports activities such as time management, social communication, task initiation, and decision-making capability. Students learn how to interact with athletes, coaches, and with fellow mates while playing a particular sport. Along with this, they learn to initiate an assigned task with surely boosts their confidence in other domains of life. Hence, sports can be considered a perk at an early stage of life for a school student.
Though in this competitive environment of today’s world, most schools are still considering success in terms of grades or top percentages. The endless rat race for marks is going on not only between students but also among parents. Instead of friendship, children are developing feelings of jealousy and comparison which are making the scenario worst day by day. Children are becoming bookworms and can be easily compared with robots as their emotional values are depleting day by day. Cooperation is highly required among the children which can be best guided through indulgence in physical activities only. Awareness of physical education in schools should be there at the global level so that government can take the necessary steps ahead.
“A healthy mind resides in a healthy body” is a common saying that proves the importance of good health. If a child is physically active then only, he can stay away from mental ailments and can get successful grades with happiness in mind. Though sports activities surely take some time out of a child’s day the enormous benefits of physical education are many which schools, as well as parents, should focus on. If sports will become a compulsory part of the curriculum in every school for at least 1 hour, then the day is not far when every school student will become mentally and physically fit.
Author – Jasteen Kaur, Yadavindra Public School, Patiala, Punjab