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What is Physical Education? - Definition & Overview

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  • 0:01 Definition of Physical…
  • 1:00 Physical Education Curriculum
  • 2:16 Participation
  • 3:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Ricketts

Donna Ricketts is a health educator with 15 years of professional experience designing health and wellness programs for adults and children.

In this lesson you will learn about physical education and how it contributes to total growth and development in youth. You will also gain an understanding of what a quality physical education program looks like.

Definition of Physical Education

Kids, as well as adults, benefit from regular exercise. Health benefits from regular exercise include: stronger muscles and bones, increased coordination and energy, and decreased risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. For most kids, exercise means being physically active during play, recess, and physical education class, also known as P.E. Physical education contributes to each child's total growth and development.

Physical education is a course taught in school that focuses on developing physical fitness and the ability to perform and enjoy day-to-day physical activities with ease. Kids also develop skills necessary to participate in a wide range of activities, such as soccer, basketball, or swimming. Regular physical education classes prepare kids to be physically and mentally active, fit, and healthy into adulthood. An effective physical education program should include engaging lessons, trained P.E. teachers, adequate instructional periods, and student evaluation.

Physical Education Class
PE Class

Physical Education Curriculum

Physical education helps students develop physical skills and confidence. For example, elementary and middle school curriculum includes activities that help kids obtain and improve skills, such as running, catching, throwing, and striking, applicable to sports such as baseball, volleyball, or karate. Balancing skills could be applied to dance or gymnastics.

High school curriculum should focus on lifetime sports skills like tennis or aerobic dance, with a secondary emphasis on team sports.

Physical education develops fitness and fosters the desire for lifelong participation in physical activity. high school curriculum prepares students to become highly proficient in one or more sport and/or fitness activity of their choice.

Physical education classes teach the health benefits of regular exercise and healthy food choices along with the risks of inactivity and poor diet. Students of all ages might be asked to dedicate themselves to making a few small improvements in diet and exercise for a period of six weeks. They would be expected to journal about how they feel during the process and reflect on how these changes affect performance and mood.

Physical education also helps students develop social skills. For example, team sports help them learn to respect others, contribute to a team goal, and socialize as a productive member of a team.

Participation

Physical Education Equipment
Physical Education Equipment

Participation in P.E. classes on a consistent basis is essential for kids' health. A quality physical education program for grades K-12 should include instructional periods of 30 minutes a day at the primary level and 45 minutes a day at the secondary level.

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