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Schools are Gradually Reopening – Should they start Physical Education andSports too?

 

Indore,01/03/2021 ( Odisha Samachar )- The year 2021 has started on a positive notewith schools in several states of Indiare-opening, in a staggered manner. However, it is of utmost importance that school leaders give sports and physical education the same priority as academics, especially in the current scenario.

Along with several physical and mental health benefits, sports and nutrition are thetwo elements that can boost a child’s immunity. World Health Organization1recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of reasonably rigorous playtime every day for a growing child to be healthier and fitter. Moreover, according to a 2019 study in the US2, children who were not involved in exercising were twice as likely to have mental health problems such as anxiety and depression compared to their counterparts.

In addition to reducing anxiety and depression among children, sports or playalso helps with stress reduction, improvement in confidence and higher self-esteem. The reason beingany physical activity or sports help produce endorphins within the body that leads one to feel happy and positive. Additionally, by instilling the values of sportsmanship, discipline, and leadership, play or sport also becomes instrumental in the social-emotional development of children.

Sports or physical education not only contributeto a child’s health, immunity, and fitness but also to his/her academic performance.Physical education or sportsis an important part of modern education. There are several studies that prove a direct and positive correlation between sports and academic performance.

For instance, “According to research done by Budde et.al3, aerobically fit students are 2.4 times more likely to pass math tests and more than twice as likely to pass reading tests than those who are not fit. Also, 20-40 minutes of brisk walking is said to improve mathematical performance in children.”

Moreover, studies have also shown that participation in sports on a weekly basis isassociated with higher GPAs in English and Mathematics4.

Sports can also be used as a tool to meaningfully engage with children and improve theirattention span, attendance, and peer relationships. Additionally, studies have also shown that structured physical activity can improve a child’s classroom behavior by approximately 20%5.

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