Ask students about physical education
To the editor:
Guest columnist Joe McCarthy recently wrote about reversing the childhood obesity trend (July 27). “Physical education and movement is the centerpiece for learning, fitness and academic achievement,” he stated.
My nephew has used the word “torture” when talking about gym class. I can’t disagree with him. Phy-ed class played a big role in teaching me that exercise is meant to be painful, unpleasant, and something to be dreaded.
Five years ago, I took my own approach and decided that doing 20 push-ups and running a mile wasn’t the best option. I learned that exercise didn’t have to be painful, unpleasant, and something to be dreaded. I did seven push-ups that day and eventually worked up to 200 in one day.
Everybody raise your hand if you were part of the no-pain, no-gain generation. Or is that still going on?
Ask your kids if they think exercise is supposed to be painful and unpleasant.
When my nephew exercises with me, I have to tell him not to strain himself. He seems obsessed about doing as many curls as he can and then is sore afterward and has to wait a few days before resuming or that he’s turned off from exercising for a month. Patience is a virtue I told him.
With regard to brain education, it seems there’s been some changes since I was a kid. It doesn’t seem like common sense that all kids are treated the same in phy-ed class and expected to accomplish the same activity. It’s common nonsense to push kids to the point of pain and then wonder why they have a negative view of exercise.
I’m not writing about coddling kids. It’s far better to encourage them to exercise in a way that suits them. We should avoid giving them negative feelings about exercise. It would be challenging to tailor phy-ed to every child. Perhaps talking with kids and finding out what their ideas on exercise are might be a starting point.
I hope no phy-ed teachers will want to beat me up for writing this. I suggest people considered how kids are taught at school as only one factor in obesity prevention.