A Different Way of Incorporating Physical Education

Nicole Wyszynski


Nicole Wyszynski, Staff Writer

Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It has been proven to enhance not only physical health but also mental capabilities. To teach kids this vital balance, American high schools require students to get moving in a physical education class, otherwise known as gym. But many American students also play on their school’s sports teams or participate in outside activities and these student-athletes often find themselves juggling their homework, practices, and games. Student-athletes who play sports all year and fulfill their daily exercise needs might benefit more from an extra study period to catch up on work than a gym class. Everyone’s needs are different therefore gym shouldn’t be a mandatory class crammed into busy student-athletes’ schedules. 

A majority of student-athletes are high achievers on the field and in the classroom. They challenge themselves with advanced classes and are disciplined enough to tackle them. However, there is no way to avoid the homework student-athletes find themselves doing late at night after a long practice or game. A study showed that getting enough sleep results in improved athletic performance and better productivity and concentration – along with countless other benefits. Allowing student-athletes to take another class such as study hall instead of gym would give them extra time to complete their work and they’ll fulfill their daily exercising needs at practice. 

How productive are high school gym classes anyway? My peers in gym class simply go through the motions and idly participate in a required activity, only enough to get a good grade. The New York Times states that students should have 60 minutes of physical activity and this will, in turn, improve students’ academic performance. High achieving student-athletes meet this standard and prove that athletics reveals character. Yet a report by Cornell University found that students are active for an average of just 16 minutes in a typical high school gym class. There is no need for student-athletes to participate in those mere 16 minutes of gym class when they could save their energy for a productive sports practice and use their time in school for academics. 

Physical activity has many clear benefits, but it shouldn’t be a mandatory part of a high schooler’s schedule when they can fulfill their exercise needs on a sports team or club surrounded by like-minded people. Student-athletes can use their time in school wisely and have an opportunity to take more classes. Although gym class can be worthwhile for some students, everyone is different and should be allowed to do what is best for them.