Physical Activity is Essential to Learning
Getting quality education has gone beyond sitting in the classroom, taking lectures and going through subject exercises. Today, many school settings do not give room for sports and physical exercises anymore, sadly. As a matter of fact, many new schools in Nigeria do not have sporting facilities at all. Once a school’s promoter has found a building for classrooms and a tiny play area, all is good for schooling. This is not a trend that should be allowed to go on. Children need to be exposed to sporting activities and fundamental exercise practices.
Regrettably, with the increasing pressure on schools to ensure that children achieve academic success, and then the need for schools to maintain the standard of academic achievement of their students, physical activity is being pushed down the priority list. The time spent in physical activity keeps diminishing. In some schools, the average physical activity duration is now gauged within 10minutes. This isn’t enough time, especially as studies have shown that physical exercises do not have detrimental impacts on school grades. In fact, some studies have indicated that increased participation in physical activity leads to enhanced learning and even better grades.
This is because increased participation in sports and other forms of physical exercise have been proven to aid the enhancement of cognitive functioning, memory, concentration behaviour and academic achievement for students. These practices are generally promoted for their positive impact on a child’s physical and mental health. It is also not to be forgotten that a brilliant mind will be severely hampered if the physical body it dwells in is unhealthy.
Even among working class adults, a sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for ill health. Medical authorities keep emphasizing the need for working adults to include physical activity in their daily routine – walking, running, or others. How much more for children who are still in early and middle stages of development.
This is therefore a call out to our school authorities and management. There is an inherent need for growing children to get involved in adequate physical activities. Government educational agencies need to enforce this. Perhaps government can also assist educational entrepreneurs with easier (even cheaper) access to landed property so that the latter get enough space to provide for such activities.