The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Gym Class Myth 

I got a pretty good chuckle out of this article on MSNBC talking about alternatives now that gym classes are disappearing in schools:

With schools cutting back on physical education classes - and some eliminating them altogether - the prospects for getting exercise during the day aren't great for many kids heading back to school this fall.
For starters, don't rely too much on gym class, experts say. While some schools are updating PE to include in-line skating, elliptical trainers, wall climbing and other popular activities, more schools are reducing or stopping their PE programs.

"Unfortunately, physical education is one of the first things that gets cut when there's a budget crunch," says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise in San Diego.

This got me thinking... when was gym class ever enough exercise? Honestly... think back to when you were in school. Granted this may be further back for some compared to others, but let's review.

In grade school, I think we had something that would resemble gym class about once a week for an hour. Frankly, I got a lot more exercise during recess every day than I ever did in "gym class". I remember getting plenty of exercise playing touch football, tetherball or four square during recess. Remember four square? That game rocked! Then again, I also played soccer and basketball in youth leagues after school. You see... in grade school we didn't need to be taught to get exercise... we played!

Ok, fast forward to middle school and high school. That's when I remember gym class getting really "serious". We had gym every day for an hour. Of course you have to subtract time change in the locker room at the beginning and end of class, then roll call. How much time does that actually leave? But the time left sure was valuable. Thanks to high school gym, I know that the "birdie" in badminton is really called a shuttlecock (and there was actually a test on that). Let's face it. High school gym was never very strenuous. There wasn't time for it to be. Not to mention the fact that gym had to be "fair" because everyone had a different amount of athletic ability, yet because everyone was required to take it, they all had to have an equal chance of succeeding (at least according to the educators).

This story tries to lead everyone to believe that cuts in education are forcing parents to scramble to make sure their kids don't become another obesity statistic. The fact of the matter is that it was always up to parents to make sure that doesn't happen, and nothing has really changed, except their kids will be calling that little thing that goes over the net a birdie instead of by it's proper name (which actually sounds a bit obscene). Gym classes may be dwindling, but your kids aren't missing much, and that's certainly not the reason they're getting fat. It's the XBOX hooked up to the TV doing that.


i couldnt agree more

  Posted at April 26, 2006 9:10 PM by Anonymous Anonymous  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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