IT is said that a healthy body has a healthy mind. Anyone who has seen children at a playground knows they are the happiest when active — whether it is playing informally, competitively or for fun.
However, today’s education is largely academic. This needs to change to ensure balanced development by inculcating health consciousness in students.
With increasing emphasis on academics and rapid advances in science and technology, parental pressure has been driving academic training, albeit at the cost of health and fitness of youth.
A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said the levels of physical activity may start to wane as early as 7 years old.
As children get older, it can be a challenge for them to get adequate daily physical activity. Hence, parents and schools must take initiatives to inculcate a culture of “playing” from early childhood.
Parents and schools should team up to encourage sports among children.
As a high percentage of children attend schools, in this context, there is an urgency to strengthen physical education and sports in our education institutions. This calls for the integration of physical education, sports and other recreational activities in schools to create a healthier generation.
But why should we take steps to encourage physical education and sports? At the community level, recreational clubs offer more activities to keep them active. Clubs offer pathways to consistent training and competitive tournaments. Parents contribute by liaising with local clubs at junior and youth levels.
Playing has physical, social, psychological and academic benefits for children. Regular physical activity also provides health benefits.
BETTER ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
The relationship between mind and body has been acknowledged scientifically.
Research has proven that physical activity can impact cognitive skills, attitudes and academic behaviour, all of which are important to improve academic performance. These include enhanced attention in class, as well as improved behaviour.
HELPS TO BUILD CHARACTER
When children play with others or engage in team sports, it creates a sense of belonging and encourages them to work with others. It teaches them to accept winning or losing graciously, which builds a strong team spirit.
PROMOTES A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Some children fantasise about growing up to become celebrities and athletes. The irony is that many children are unhealthy due to sedentary lifestyles.
Sports and physical education are the best ways for children to lead a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activities reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis, and improves metabolism. Children who are physically active are likely to grow into physically active and emotionally balanced adults.
TEACHES LIFE SKILLS
By making physical education and sports engaging and inclusive, children learn respect for themselves and others.
It teaches them team-building skills, critical and creative thinking and makes them more participative and responsible.
Physical education and sports are an important part of holistic schooling. Physical education
as an education tool can contribute to the development of children.
It acts as a balance between a student’s body and mind, hence, schools and parents must give their children sufficient time to play for their all-round development.
MOHD NASIR ZAKARIA
The Musketeers Sport and Recreation Club, Putrajaya