Rising obesity rates, traditional scholastic values, and perceived student enjoyment are all factors that have contributed to upholding the physical education requirement in schools.
Yet, with the changing academic landscape placing more weight on grade point averages, students becoming more athletically specialized, and the rise of alternative forms of entertainment to physical activity, gym class has come to symbolize, for many students, nothing more than an unfortunate obligation.
A modernized approach to physical education is needed to address the changes in the lives of today’s student. Gym class reform should incorporate the needs of the physically inactive, the athletically inclined, and the scholarly student alike.
While students who do not participate in any form of sports or exercise outside of school need to attend a gym class to maintain good health, most athletes should either be exempt from regular gym activities or allowed to partake in an alternate form of class.
Not only can athletes become fatigued or injured during gym class, possibly affecting their performance in games, but most athletes would prefer to attend a class specifically with athletes in mind.
For students with an interest in the field of sports science, a class centered on nutrition, health, and exercise for athletes would help engage students who are tired of the basic, traditional gym class.
Even a normal gym class could be enhanced by using newer kinds of equipment such as exercise balls, weights, and total body resistance exercise equipment and by teaching a more stimulating health curriculum.
Currently, gym class serves only to lower grade point averages for students in honors level classes.
If gym were to become a more curriculum-based class where students could learn about physiology while also exercising and testing out their new knowledge, the academic credits acquired by taking gym could be raised accordingly.
Receiving more credits while learning new information and trying out previously unexplored exercise techniques will reinvigorate students’ enthusiasm for gym class.