When you were in grades school, two of the best parts of the day were probably lunch, recess, and P.E. However, fast-forward to today, when there is increased pressure to produce higher test scores and cut funding for nonessential wellness programs, recess and physical education suffer. Understanding that education is important but so is recess and P.E.
So what actually happens to children’s bodies when physical activity is cut during the school day? As it turns out, a lot! Take a look at these three top consequences, according to some experts, that happen to children’s physical and mental health when schools no longer allow them to be active.
1. A lack of focus sets in. For children with any kind of attention deficit issues, physical activity goes along with helping them maintain their focus in school. “Kids with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) need to move so that then can then come back to their classrooms and focus,” Dr. Scott Carroll, a physician and psychiatrist, tells Romper. “Medication only partially treat their hyperactivity, and recess helps limit how much medication you need to use. Also, children with ADHD that isn’t quite severe enough for medication need recess to continue to cope with school without medication.”
2. Social skills suffer. Recess and P.E. are not just a time for physical activity, they are a time for children to interact, therefore practicing social skills. “Recess is an important social time,” Carroll states. “Children get to organize their own games and activities and learn social skills instead of having teachers organize all the activities, like during class time.”
3. Physical health is put at risk. In a study involving K-5th grade students, findings suggest that there is an actual connection between P.E. and recess programs and childhood obesity. “These opportunities to move are an important part in addressing and combating child obesity,” said David Frisvold, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics at Emory University and one of the study’s main researchers of the study.”No matter what age, we should all be moving regularly throughout the day to keep our bodies healthy physically, and taking mental breaks from working and studying to rest our minds.”
Do you think that P.E. and recess are just as essential as core subjects for a student to succeed in school and beyond? Sound off, we want to hear from you!