Schools play an integral role in the early formative years of a child. School affects every sphere of child development, particularly the physical and mental realms. In most cases, the discipline instilled in students at school remains with them for life.
Obesity has been a matter of concern for decades among adults. However, child obesity is slowly catching up at an alarming rate. The World Health Organization reports that almost 41 million children below the age of 5 are obese and surprisingly, more than half of them live in Asia. The numbers in Malaysia are not encouraging either. According to the 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), Malaysia has 44.2% obese adults, the highest in Southeast Asia. That number increased to 47.3% in the 2015 NHMS, with 11.8% of obese children in Malaysia below the age of 18.
Being aware of the need to remain physically fit is a state of mind that needs to be inculcated at a young age. Physical fitness is an integral part of healthy living as it not only affects the body but the mind as well. Being physically active has been proven to be beneficial for the good of mental health.
Physical Education in Schools
Taking the cue from the alarming obesity numbers, most schools have now included physical education as an integral part of the day to day lives of children. Participating in various kinds of physical activities among friends in school makes a child enjoy the exercise. This, in turn, helps a child to pick it up as a habit.
Benefits of Physical Education in Schools
The positive effects of physical education extend beyond the need to remain fit and fight obesity. They also affect different aspects of a child’s life.
- They Lead to Healthy Physical Development: Remaining active during childhood has positive effects on bone and cartilage development. It strengthens the bone as well as leads to muscle strengthening. Regular physical exercise helps children grow to a healthy height and weight and be less prone to accidents and injuries. Most importantly, children become energetic and develop further interest in classroom activities.
- They Lead to Brain Development: Physical activities have a positive effect on the basal ganglia of the brain, which is the part that affects an individual’s capability to focus. This has amazing effects on improving student concentration. Students who take part in regular physical education are less likely to become distracted, and therefore can concentrate better on their studies and schoolwork.
- They Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety: Growing up today is not easy. The children of this generation handle more pressure at school and have the constant need to stay ahead of the competition. This leads to a range of mental problems such as anxiety and depression. Being physically active is a breather that helps children take time off everything else. While exercising, we breathe deeply, taking in extra air into our lungs. The extra oxygen helps to relax and relieve stress. Thus, physical exercise is a good option to treat depression and anxiety. Getting children used to it from childhood helps them practise it diligently when they are older as well.
- They Help in Physical Fitness: Last but not least, physical education helps fight obesity and obesity-related diseases such as juvenile diabetes and blood pressure. Being physically active helps to burn off the calories consumed through junk food, which is great.
Physical Activities at elc International School
Students at International School have the opportunity to participate in a variety of physical activities to keep fit whilst enjoying themselves in an outdoor environment. They can learn and play basketball, football, swimming, and T-ball to name but a few. The team of professional and enthusiastic teachers train and motivate the students to participate in national and international events.
Recently, students from both the school’s campuses participated in the FOBISIA U-11 Games and competed against schools from different countries. Our students fared well in the competitive events, winning several medals and made the school proud with their excellent attitude to teamwork.
Here in elc, students are encouraged to be physically fit and mentally positive. Hopefully then, they will grow up to be capable individuals, possessing not just passion for sports and talent for extra-curricular activities, but they will be disciplined in all aspects of their lives.