Who can stand up here with their hand on their heart and admit to getting at least an hour of exercise every single day? Very few. And this my friends, is the sole reason as to why I am completely against students not being required to take part in physical education. However, I am not only here today
to discuss the effects of a diet consumed by a lack of exercise, I am also here, to stand up for the student who is a sports fanatic, a sports extremist, who is continuously being penalised by the education system in this country.
Although many people believe Physical Education is the teachers way of embarrassing students who are not 'sporty' or athletic, trust me, this is definitely not their aim. Physical Education is there to teach the student that exercise is a vital key to health. It's not all about being the best either, winning every single game in class, it's about getting up off your bum and doing something for yourself and your body. People complain constantly about Physical Education being a waste to their vital class time which could be spent doing 'more important' subjects like Maths or English. But who is to say that English and Maths are more important than Physical Education? I know, at the end of the day we are required to take an examination in such subjects but in order to take this exam and complete it successfully, we need our health, and in order to be healthy we must exercise. According to a study carried out by the Irish Times Newspaper, students who regularly partake in sports are twice as more likely to get better grades in their leaving certificate than those who don't.
It's a plain and simple fact, known by everyone, that we must exercise. But what is the reason behind students disliking physical education so much? Perhaps they're too self conscious to take part in sports in front of their classmates or maybe they're not as good at sport as everyone else. This is acceptable, especially amongst teenage girls. They constantly compare themselves to the athletic people in their class, wishing they were as athletic as them. But what they don't do, is get up and BE athletic like them. What people have to understand is that athletes are made, not born. There is no athlete out there that has won something without sweat, determination and hard work. Are these people self conscious? Maybe they are, maybe they're not, but what they do, is put this aside to be the best they can be. Physical Education not only encourages people to be healthy and fit, it teaches people to be more confident and more positive about themselves and their body. In a survey carried out by the Irish Sports Council, 46% of young people between the ages of 13 and 19 admit to only exercising once a week during Physical Education with a staggering only 18% exercising every day. But, if all students were not required to take part in Physical Education, what would happen to this 46%? Would the exercise outside of school? Probably not.
Physical Education in this country is currently not a subject which is examined in the leaving certificate which in my opinion is complete and utter bull. Take for example the student who partakes in Physical Education every single week without fail yet is averaging at a D in the rest of her subjects. This girl may not have the mental capacity to get A's in every subject, yet has the physical capacity to succeed. What has the Education system got to offer her? Nothing. Yet, the girl getting A's without fail in all of her subjects takes part in Physical Education maybe once, twice a year and succeeds greatly in her exams. We have to admit that this is one of the many flaws in our education system, but just because we do not have to sit a three hour exam at the end of the year in this subject, doesn't mean it isn't important.
If you do not agree with me, you are not only lying to yourself, but you are lying to your body. It's true to say that we are a nation that is getting fatter. The cost of obesity related deaths alone have been estimated at €4 billion per annum which is utterly terrible as something that can be prevented in the current economic climate we are in. We need to teach the children and young people of this country that Physical health and well being is one of the most important aspects of succeeding not only in school, but in life. And, in order to be physically healthy, we must exercise. But how can children and young people see the fun and enjoyment in exercising if they are not taking part in games with their friends and their classmates? Eventually, exercise will become something of a chore to them, they will dislike it and then, they will stop doing it. But how can we stop this vicious circle? What people need to understand is that Physical Education is a way of teaching young people that you CAN exercise and have fun at the same time. In turn, making it less of a chore and more of activity to which they look forward to.