Monthly Article Archives: September 2008

Physical Exercise in School: Fitness for Both Body and MindRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

During the past few weeks, millions of children and adolescents have returned to school after summer vacation. With the beginning of the new school year, I hope that their school programs include time set aside each day for exercise and physical activity. In past writings I have reported that in my visits to a number of schools I have been disheartened to learn of the decrease in time allotted for physical education and exercise. Far too often in this age of high stakes testing, physical activity has been sacrificed for academic study. And far too often children have been denied recess if they have not completed all of their academic requirements. I am not minimizing the importance of schools focusing on academic achievement. Obviously, the teaching of academic subjects is a prime function of education. Those familiar with my work know that I have written and lectured extensively about creating school environments that nurture motivation and learning. However, when physical education and physical activities are relegated to the equivalent of second class citizenship and when children are deprived of recess, these practices must be questioned by asking, “Do such actions enhance school performance or are they counterproductive, leading to a

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