Posted January 7, 2014
For many people, memories of physical education, or gym class, center around calisthenics – jumping jacks, squats, sit-ups and push-ups – running laps, games and physical fitness tests. However, today’s gym classes have been revolutionized to focus on fun and fitness, not just physical activity.
Physical Inactivity Associated With Obesity
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that physical inactivity is associated with obesity, a problem facing approximately 17 percent of American children and teenagers, which is three times the rate of the previous generation.
Most States Mandate Teaching Physical Education
According to the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, students who are physically active have lower incidences of absenteeism and perform better academically. Currently 38 states mandate physical education classes in elementary, middle school and high school, but few have requirements for the amount of instructional time, and most allow for substitutions, exemptions or waivers.
Teachers Introduce Fun and Fitness Programs
Physical education teachers at schools across the country are working to change gym class into a more interesting fitness experience for students, with the goal of helping children and teenagers understand the importance of lifelong fitness. For example, some schools have added rock climbing walls, Pilates and yoga classes, Zumba and other dance and rhythm instruction, inline skating or snow shoeing activities.
New Healthy People 2020 Program
The United States government also has created a Healthy People 2020 program, focused on encouraging Americans to adopt healthier, active lifestyles.
To learn more about new gym class trends, review these articles: