NPR recently interviewed Dr. Gregory D. Myer on the importance of PE in schools. Here are 5 key points we gathered from the interview.
1. Exercise is linked to neurocognitive development in children.
His recent paper delves more into the details how children’s brains develop with improved motor skills. He also found that adolescents who improved their motor skills tend to extend their healthy behaviors and habits into adulthood.
2. PE class must be a required part of school.
PE classes offer a structured time for physical activity that includes all school children. Although after school and extracurricular programs exist in schools, children may not have access to participate in these programs.
3. Once a week is not enough.
As more PE teachers and classes are cut, there are not enough resources spent on developing children's physically activity. He said there is plenty of research that shows physically active children do better academically.
4. Children like to move in short bursts of activity.
Myer suggests interval-type training or muscle-building activities. A recent study in the journal Childhood Obesity shows that children take 300 more steps per day when they participate in short-burst exercise programs integrated in classroom lessons.
5. Children are acutely aware of how they move especially when they’re 5, 6, and 7 years old.
Children who tend to have better motor skills at that age continue to pursue sports and other physical activities as they grow older. Children who move more poorly, however, tend to spend their free time doing more non-physical activities.
What do you think?