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Jeana Ruffner

Mrs. Cramer

Comp Pd. 7

21 April 2017

Physical Fitness Should be a New Fad

In this world, the health of the youth is decreasing drastically. Through the use of

physical education in school, students are able to be instilled with the idea of healthy living. If

physical education courses are no longer mandatory by the schools, youth, adolescents, and even

young adults will not receive the amount of exercise that they need to maintain a healthy weight

and lifestyle. It is likely that if exercise is not mandatory, most students will find a different way

to spend their time and push exercise to a back burner. In school, it is common for students to

avoid a class or a specific teacher due to their dislike of one or the other. This should not be an

option for physical education. Physical education should be mandatory for students of all ages to

promote a healthy lifestyle and improve overall academic function of students.

First, it is important to note that it is common knowledge that to live a healthy lifestyle,

both proper diet and regular physical activity are necessary. Making physical education

mandatory in schools provides students the opportunity to receive the exercise that they need to

promote such lifestyle. It is understood that exercise is not the only aspect of a healthy lifestyle,

but it most definitely plays a role. Childhood obesity in America is on a steady rise, and this is

due largely to the fact that American children are not as active as they used to be. "Data from

2009-2010 indicates that over 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese" (President's,

2017). As compared to obesity rates from previous years, this number is alarming. It is more
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common than ever for children to be overweight or even obese. Enforcing physical education

classes in our schools would work towards decreasing the number of obese or overweight

children in this nation by encouraging exercise at least once a day. Increased exercise, along with

a healthy diet, will, in most cases, lead to weight loss.

Next, physical education often meets conflict with the idea that because of physical

education class, students are subject to vast amounts of ridicule, torture, and even abuse. Brooks

states Kids are sexually harassed, body shamed, put down, molested, encouraged to fight,

encouraged to compete, spit on, and shoved in showers against their will and forced to change in

bathroom stalls for fear of the above. They are also forced to change clothes in front of their

peers for a grade (Pg 2). Brooks point illustrates the numerous amounts of ridicule students can

experience due to changing in the locker rooms. To argue this, it is important to bring to light the

fact that it is very uncommon that students are left alone in the locker room during changing

times. At the beginning of class, the physical education teacher is in the locker room with the

students to make sure the above listed things do not take place. The purpose of having one (or

more) male teachers and one (or more) female teachers is to ensure that said teacher is in the

locker room to monitor the students prior to the beginning of gym class. In small towns and

schools such as Bradford, it is highly unlikely for a teacher to not witness an event of bullying or

other form of public humiliation take place. This argument can be disproven by encouraging the

watchfulness of physical education teachers.

Moreover, an argument that opposes physical education in schools often states that even

if students are forced to attend physical education classes that they are not more active than

students who are. A team of researchers from Peninsula Medical School conducted a study on

two hundred and six children ages seven to eleven from three schools around Plymouth using
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ActiGraphs. The purpose of ActiGraphs is to measure the amount of physical movement and the

intensity of the movement of each child. The results are as follows: No matter how much P.E.

they got during school hours, by the end of the day, the kids from the three schools had moved

around about the same amount, at about the same intensity (Pg 1). In addition, by the end of the

day, the students who participated in physical education class while at school had no more

movement or activity than the students who did not participate. This specific study does, in fact1,

encourage the reader to believe that physical education courses do not make students more

active. This point can easily be refuted, though. If one thinks logistically about it, it makes sense

that having physical education mandatory provides students the time to be active. As children

grow into adolescents and young adults, it is likely their time outside of school will involve other

responsibilities than just needing to exercise. It is common for teenagers to have jobs and have

large amounts of schoolwork to do after school. Because of this, exercise is likely to be avoided

due to lack of time. If the class is implemented at school, that will ensure students are more

active than what they would be without the class. Physical education classes make it mandatory

for students to receive the amount of exercise they need each day.

Lastly, the overwhelming statistical evidence that supports the notion that physical

education supports academic function is discussed. Numerous studies conducted all around the

United States provide convincing evidence that physical fitness plays a role in academic

achievement and function. A vast amount of studies show that physical activity improves overall

brain function, memory, and learning techniques. In a study conducted by researchers at the

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it was found that "the children who were in better

aerobic condition significantly outperformed the less-fit group..." (Reynolds, pg 3). During said

1 Expletive- The use of the term in fact is an expletive. An expletive was used
here to reinforce the truthfulness and relevance of the rest of the sentence.
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study, students were asked to memorize the names of regions on a map and come back a day

later and name each region again. The students that were the most-fit performed better than the

students who were less fit. This is an exemplum2 that fitness, in this aspect, contributed to a

student's ability to memorize new material. Another study, conducted by the American College of

Sports Medicine, found that "students who ran around and otherwise exercised vigorously for at

least 10 minutes before a math test scored higher than children who had sat quietly before the

exam" (Reynolds, pg 1). This, along with the other study, brings to light the fact that physical

activity stimulates a student's brain and enhances their overall academic function. It has been

found that for children with lower physical ability, along comes lower academic ability.

"Students who were overweight scored almost half a letter grade and 11% lower than the national

percentile of reading scores compared to their peers who were not overweight or obese"

(Palaestra, 2016). Today's youth controls the future, making it crucial for them to do well in

school. If researchers know and can prove that physical education classes will improve students'

academic function, why is this topic controversial3? People should be willing to do whatever is

necessary to ensure a functional society in the future, full of high school, and hopefully college,

graduates. Physical education is what is necessary to do so.

In conclusion, it should be clear to see why physical education should be mandatory in

schools. It not only lays the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle, but it also combats childhood

obesity and improves academic function of students. Any counter argument that may arise

involving physical education can be rebutted with the fact that physical education makes for a

2 Exemplum- This provides an example to support the idea that physical fitness aids
in the ability to memorize new material.

3 Hypophora- This is the use of a hypophora. The author first asks a question and
then provides an answer or a call to action.
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healthier nation. Why would anyone want to interfere with something that will positively affect

the society we live in?

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Works Cited

Brooks, Sean M. "Why Physical Education Contributes to Violence in School." Edutopia 21 Jan.

2015; 2. Print.

Cloud, John "Why Kids' Exercise Matters Less Than We Think." TIME 13 May 2009; 3; Print.

Palaestra. "Childhood Obesity: Classification as an Idea Disability." Gale Databases, 2016. Web.

16 Mar. 2017.

"President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition." Facts & Statistics - President's Council on

Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, n.d. Web.

16 Mar. 2017.

Reynolds, Gretchen "How Physical Fitness May Promote School Success." The New York Times

18 September 2013; 3. Print.