Helping America's youth achieve excellence in both academics and physical fitness is a top priority of educators and parents. And the solution is a no-brainer: Recent studies confirm that there is a correlation between fitness and academic achievement. Researchers also note that kids exhibit better classroom behavior when they're given time to get the wiggles out on the playground or in the gymnasium.
So, it should come as no surprise that proponents of kids' mental and physical well-being are supporting the Virginia General Assembly's initiative to require daily physical education, totaling 150 minutes a week, for K-8 students. Here's how the editorial board of the Daily Press is applauding lawmakers for recognizing the need to keep kids' bodies and minds in motion:
The physical activity that was once a part of the school day, especially in elementary schools, has been stripped away in many schools. Recess is a treat, not a routine. Physical education may occur only a few times — or once — a week.
Physical education is essential for children. They need to move big muscles and run off energy. They need to get out of the classroom and into fresh air, to stop sitting and start moving.
The push for P.E. is part of the effort to stanch the epidemic of childhood obesity. Doing that requires two things: reducing the intake of calories and increasing the expenditure of energy. In other words, eat less, play more.
But the value of P.E. goes beyond obesity prevention. Just as academic subjects develop lifelong skills, like reading and thinking, physical education should develop skills and interests that will help kids stay active as they grow up …