Head-to-Head: Physical education should remain a mandatory class

Feb. 16, 2024

By Jude McElroy

 Every New Jersey student is familiar with physical education class. This is because the state requires public school students to receive at least 150 minutes of P.E. per week or proportionately less when holidays fall within a week. Some suggest it should not be required, but P.E. is very crucial to students’ physical and mental health.

First, P.E. is important because not everybody exercises regularly outside of school. Some students do not have the opportunity outside of school to get the physical activity they need. 

P.E. rarely provides a major workout, but it is enough to keep students fit. 

In fact, walking for just 30 minutes could make a huge difference in increasing cardiovascular fitness, strengthening bones, reducing excess body fat and boosting muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce one’s risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, according to the health and medical information website Better Health Channel.

Not all students have the time or interest to exercise or commit to a sport, so P.E. especially helps them. 

According to Magnus Health, P.E. can also help reduce stress. It gives students a way to relax during school hours and strengthen social skills by giving students the chance to cooperate when playing together. 

Ideally, students should have a choice in the type of exercise they do in P.E. According to the National Library of Medicine, this increases motivation greatly. While P.E. could introduce students to new sports and activities they might not have tried, it should be up to the student to decide what type of exercise they want to do.

Some students do not have the opportunity outside of school to get the physical activity they need.

Additionally, P.E. is a good break from academics. It can be beneficial for a student’s mental health to have a non-academic class where they can be active. As long as students participate, they usually do well in the class, and it is nice to play with friends and not have to worry about assignments. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking P.E. leads to improved test scores and helps students stay on task in the classroom. Therefore, the class indirectly helps students with their academics, along with improving motor skills and encouraging higher levels of activity.

P.E. has many benefits, which is why it should remain a requirement for students. It ensures that all students have the chance to be active and develop healthy habits that can remain for a lifetime.

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