I am a huge advocate for exercise, PE, sports and fitness programmes in schools. I try to set an example in my own life through participating in a wide range of sports, competitive running, and regularly attending the gym. I really do believe in healthy body, healthy mind.
It seems to me that PE and sports are too often placed on the 'not so important', or 'we'll do it if we have time' lists for many teachers. The feeling being that literacy and numeracy must be fitted in first.
My feeling is that neglecting physical fitness is detrimental to the learning of students; with my belief confirmed by research highlighted in Lord Robert Winston's book 'The Human Mind'. One example given is a case study in Japan in which two groups of students are selected at random, with one being prescribed a regular jogging programme and the other group being sedentary. After a 12 week period the regular exercisers did 30% better than the non-exercisers in similar academic based tests. Lord Winston states that there are several other studies that suggest regular exercise enhances memory.
Teachers, the next time you think about canceling a PE session due to lack of time or a commitment to a 'more important' learning area; stop and think about what our priorities should be in terms of providing our students with every opportunity to perform to their potential.