Kids Need Better Physical Education and Recess

Thinking Further

School budget cuts often either eliminate or threaten to reduce physical education programs and recess, yet kids do better academically when they get the chance to move. What do you think?

5 Things I’ve Read Recently

1. High-quality physical education can boost the academic performance of students.1
2. Providing recess to students on a regular basis can help kids with overall physical activity, social development, and doing well in school.2
3. Healthier students learn better at school.3
4. Most kids do not meet the recommended levels of daily physical activity.4
5. Health experts recommend that children and teenagers get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.5

My Take on It

My kids often complain about how long the school day is (even though I think it’s too short), and a lot of that has to do with having to sit for too long. When kids get the chance to get up and move, they get the wiggles out. They get re-energized. I know I do. Part of the problem is that some schools don’t have high standards for physical education. PE is more of a “fun and games” class, rather than a class that helps kids get into physical condition and find physical activities they truly enjoy. Lately I’ve been working with one of my kid’s physical education teachers. We’ve been brainstorming ways to get my book-loving kid to move, and we came up with physical education “homework” that has inspired my 13-year-old to get active. Now, my teenager and I do physical education homework together, and I’ve noticed that it’s been a good move for the both of us.

Talk Further

Ask your child: “What physical activity do you enjoy most? How can we work together to ensure that you get to do that more often?”

Explore Further

Your Take on It

Should schools provide more effective physical education and recess? What do you think? Share your comments below.


1. Centers for Disease Control, The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance, (Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010).
2. Ibid.
3. Charles E. Basch, Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in School Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap (New York: A Research Initiative of the Campaign for Educational Equity, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, 2010).
4. Ibid.
5. Centers for Disease Control, ibid.

I often find myself not being motivated to provide the opportunities that my kids have identified. Parents need to be a good example and get moving!

These are great tips for getting my son away from the TV and out enjoying the nice spring weather. I am going to make a point to add family activities to our weekends.

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