physical educationDid you know that May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 60 minutes of physical activity for children, at least five days a week.

Only 1 in 3 children achieves the minimum amount of physical activity they need each day.

Only 3.8 percent of elementary schools provide daily physical education.

With this in mind, it makes sense that schools build in time to ensure that children are both physically healthy and academically strong.   In order to accomplish both goals, more and more schools, often in communities of concentrated poverty, are expanding learning time. These schools are finding that increasing time for physical activity supports student health and school success. The additional active time relieves stress, decreases health risks, and creates attentive and happy learners.

Here are some reasons physical education helps specifically with learning success (source):

  • Children who are physically active tend to perform better in the classroom.
  • Children who are active and fit tend to have better school attendance and fewer discipline problems.
  • More P.E. time leads to improved grades and standardized test scores.
  • Activity breaks can improve cognitive performance and classroom behavior.

Schools can be creative with the time they use for physical activity.  Recess, classroom activity breaks, organized sports, and partnerships with community organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and YMCA  can be great possibilities that encourage children to be physically active.

How can you take action? First,  you can personally be more active and set goals for you and your family. Learn more, find fit tips and find out more ways to be active here. In order to create school change, check out this fact sheet about how schools can support quality physical activity during school time.