A New Take on Health and Physical Education

By Mr. Jamie Ellis

Physical Education has come a long way from what adults reminisce about our school days. Lining up in the gym, hoping to not get picked last, and feeling self-conscious about our performance and ability to play the traditional sports dictated by our gym teachers  may not invoke fond memories.  

At York Country Day, we encourage students to fully participate in a wide variety of sports and discover new games and activities that they may not ever get the chance to experience outside of school. Possibly finding passion for more than just the traditional sports, they have the chance to explore new games and activities which include team building opportunities and world wide sports such as soccer, cricket, and the wizardry Harry Potter game of “Quidditch”. Our goal is to develop and encourage a lifelong appreciation for and enjoyment of many different types of physical activities.

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In addition to learning to maintain a healthy body through physical exercise, understanding and being aware of the long-term effects of unhealthy choices can motivate students to make changes and apply them to their lifestyles. Health class plays a big role in educating students about the importance of nutrition and eating healthy food for the benefit of avoiding diseases and illnesses that can occur related to inactivity and obesity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that over the last several years, obesity in children (ages 2–5) and adolescents (ages 12–19) has doubled because of lack of activity and poor diet.  Making healthy food choices is important because developing those positive habits may  lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

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Although health and fitness may not be the career path students choose in the future, it still plays an important role along the path to success by demonstrating to students how to live a healthy lifestyle and look after themselves as they become more independent. Research indicates that students who are physically fit are more academically alert and experience growth in brain cells and brain development.   

Physical education also provides opportunities to teach students about the psychological and social aspects of life skills. This includes respecting each other, building a positive mindset, demonstrating good sportsmanship, as well as encouraging classmates to be successful in a fun and safe environment.

I firmly believe health and physical education provides students much more than just an opportunity to develop, practice, and reinforce healthy habits – it also assists in developing and encouraging a lifelong appreciation for and enjoyment of many different types of physical activities.