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What is Physical Education?


Just what is physical education? The classic physical education class or gym class was about getting children playing sports. The PE classes we remember as kids can be traced to the German gymnasium and gymnastic training. The purpose was to teach children how to exercise.

Unfortunately, when most people think of physical education they think of their old gym class and that really doesn't adequately answer the question what is physical education?

At physical-education-institute we are working to change that perception. We want the answer to the question what is physical education to be any course that gives an overview of how the human body maintains its health.

We want everyone to think about it as a life-long learning course where you keep seeking to learn about the human body. It truly is about educating people around their physical being. When anyone asks us "what is physical education?" that is our response.

Physical education is really very broad

Modern PE should not be thought of in terms of classes in elementary, middle, or high school. It should be thought of as educating all ages. Our physical beings need to be properly fed and worked. Therefor the physical education boils down to health and fitness.

The health component

The health portion of the curriculum should be about taking care of your internal body systems and the importance of hygiene. We can break down the health portion of health and physical education into two broad categories, nutrition and human body systems.

First people of all ages need to understand how our body heals and works. The human body system is extremely complex, but can be understood well enough by everyone that they will have the knowledge to take proper care of themselves.

The human body system does include a spiritual side. We cannot ignore the mind and body connection when teaching about our human systems.

People need to learn how disease takes root in the body and steps to take to prevent disease or the spread of disease. We all also need to have a basic understanding of how the body heals itself. The role the spiritual nature and the mind plays in that healing is crucial.

A significant aspect of this component of physical education should be the role of nutrition. Nutrition is the fuel that allows our body to work efficiently. If we don't use proper fuel our bodies will not function properly.

Fitness component

The fitness component of physical education can also be broken down into two broad categories, exercise physiology and athletics. Traditional PE classes focused a great deal on the latter and that is what we want to change.

There really are many subcategories of physical education that I would argue are subcategories of either health or fitness. I believe the physical therapy education, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches are part of the very broad topic of fitness.

I would go as far as saying any field that concerns itself with the human body and how it functions is really part of physical education. They will fit under health or fitness. Do not think, though, that health and fitness are not connected to each other.

All of us should get the global education associated with health and fitness, while the specialists can focus on their particular area of expertise. It is the global education that really answers the question what is physical education?

Athletic training

The athletic component will be more about the basic skill set used to participate in most sports. It involves the application of your coordination, speed, agility, and strength in a competitive environment. It also entails learning the basic concepts and rules of various games and sports. Teamwork is also another aspect of the athletic curriculum.

The exercise physiology piece will be about developing and improving a persons endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. All of those are used in athletics, but they are also necessary for general productivity in your life.

Your ability to do your job well and participate actively in everyday tasks requires a certain level of fitness. The more fit you are the more of the daily functions of living can you do and do well.

A good design

A well designed physical education program will help anyone of any age to not only gain knowledge, but actually develop fitness and health in the process. It should not be passive education. The student really needs to be involved in the process, making choices, and applying what they are learning. If they are not building the skills, and developing the habits the curriculum or teaching methods should be reviewed.

A website such as this can only pass along knowledge and strategies. We can not get you active. We can provide opportunities or resource ideas that hopefully will get you involved. If you are actually taking a course in any of these areas it should really force you to take active steps and develop positive habits!

So, what is physical education? It is any field of study that focuses on the human body and how it functions.

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