Less physical activity in school may lead students to pursue afterschool activities

April 29, 2014

[shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="25449586"] Many U.S. students engage in less physical activity throughout the school day.

The Institute of Medicine released a report in 2013 that estimated only about half of young people in the U.S. meet current guidelines of at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Many students are leading a more sedentary lifestyle as several individuals rely on non-active transportation. Additionally, numerous schools have eliminated physical education classes and recess because of other educational demands and tough financial times, USA Today reported. The No Child Left Behind legislation in 2001 requested more time is devoted to subjects such as reading and math. Between 2001 and 2006, the percentage of U.S. schools that offered PE daily significantly declined. In fact, 44 percent of school administrators cut time for PE and recess.

With more inactivity, the report says the U.S. Education Department should make PE a core subject, just like math and English. Parents and teachers also want health and physical education to be a mandatory part of the school day, according to a Kidhealth in the Classroom online survey. Mary L. Gavin, MD, KidsHealth medical editor and president of the Delaware chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics says kids who are physically active do better in school. The report also indicated that a lack of activity increases the risk of heart disease, colon and breast cancer, hypertension and other diseases.

Since many schools are not providing 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate-intensity exercise daily, it makes sense for students to engage in physical activity at the end of the school day such as martial arts. This form of exercise can also improve a student’s performance in school and increase attention span.

Martial arts has the ability to address all of these issues, while building a student’s self esteem and confidence.