The Importance of Physical Activity in Creating a Healthy & Vibrant Young Generation

In today’s highly competitive age, our children face demands to be more focused on their academics in order to enter higher education at reputable education institutions. They need more time to study and conduct research online, usually sitting for long periods of time in front of their computers. This is just a reality of today, as academics are highly important.

Nowadays, though, many of our students are leading very sedentary lives, especially during their leisure time. Gadgets and game consoles, social media, and online games create tech-savvy kids who are active virtually, yet inactive physically.

Alice Park, in TIME Health, writes that children and adolescents are exercising less; 19 year-olds nowadays spend time being as inactive and as sedentary as 60 year-olds[1]. Two recent studies about media, demonstrate just how inactive children are becoming due to the pervasive usage of technology[2]. Children and teenagers are expected to be the most active, and yet research shows that rates of exercise have declined. UNESCO states that[3]:

“The time children and adults all over the world spend engaging in physical activity is decreasing with dire consequences on their health, life expectancy, and ability to perform in the classroom, in society and at work.”

Sedentary and inactive lifestyles have many health disadvantages. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that levels of physical inactivity are rising and are responsible for increasing the risk of diseases[4]. Furthermore, it also affects children’s mental health and cognitive process. Even though many people do not associate physical activity with cognitive development, the two are clearly related and have tremendous effects on the mind. For example, a new study from Finland found that a sedentary lifestyle is linked to poorer reading skills in 6-8 year old boys[5].

“We also observed that boys who had a combination of low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary time had the poorest reading skills through Grades 1-3,” explains Eero Haapala, Ph.D., from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyväskylä.

As we promote a holistic approach on education, Sekolah Pelita Harapan recognizes the importance of physical education to enhance students’ physical development, which can also support many developments in other areas. SPH ensures a well-balanced curriculum where physical education and sports activities play important roles in shaping our students’ lives, without de-emphasizing academics. We also provide a wide array of facilities to support students’ physical activities, such as soccer fields, multi-sport courts and gymnasiums, swimming pools, and playgrounds for younger students.

Physical education is highly beneficial for three main areas of development:

  1. Physical & mental development
    • Increase motor skills & enhance bodily fitness
    • Improve physical health (immune system, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.)
    • Stress reduction (release of tension and anxiety)
  2. Cognitive development [6]
    • Improved concentration & memory
    • Faster cognitive processing speed
    • Increased performance on standardized academic tests
  3. Character development [7]
    • Boosts self-confidence & teaches self-discipline
    • Strengthens peer relationships & cooperation with others
    • Influences on leadership & moral development

 

God designed our body to be trained actively. We ought to maintain a healthy lifestyle as part of our responsibility to glorify Him in all that we do. As the SPH Lippo Village PE Coordinator, Mr. Bruce Comrie, along with the rest of PE department, as well as the Principals and other teachers, is highly concerned about promoting healthy and active lifestyles among students and even the whole community of SPH. Therefore, SPH Lippo Village is launching a new video series, “Time-out with Mr. Bruce”, in which Mr. Bruce and others will provide insight and tips regarding healthy and active lifestyles. Check out the first episode here:

 

 

[1] Teens Are Just As Sedentary As 60-Year-Olds

[2] How technology and inactive lifestyles are changing our children

[3] Physical education for healthier, happier, longer and more productive living

[4] Obstacles for physical education teachers in public schools: an unsustainable situation

[5] Sedentary lifestyle may impair academic performance in boys

[6] Healthy Body, Healthy Mind – The Benefits of Physical Activity in School 

[7] Physical Education For Stronger Bodies & Minds