To P.E. or not to P.E.

Many students, including students at VHS, often wonder why they are being forced to participate in physical education at school if they play a sport or participate in an extracurricular after school. Many do not believe it is necessary and that they should be given the option to opt out if they want. Both sides, pro and against gym if you play a sport, make a strong case.

        Those who are against gym often advocate for its removal because of the intense athletic lives student athletes have. Many student athletes participate in a sport or activity after school that requires them to work extremely hard and pushes them to their maximum. This type of activity gives students the exercise they need while they are still able to do something that they enjoy. The schedules that student athletes have can also cause extreme stress. They put in many hours after school in their activity, and that can lead them to not eat properly or stay up too late to get their homework done. Because of these reasons, many students feel that it is not necessary for them to be exerting themselves more in gym when they are already doing so in extracurricular activities.

        Although these reasons are valid, there are also many reasons why gym is necessary. One of the biggest reason is the obesity rate in the United States. In 2018, the amount of Americans who were obese was 25 percent in 48 states. That means that ¼ of almost the entire United States population is obese. In children, the obesity rate is 18.5 percent in the United States. This sets children up for many health issues such as diabetes or heart disease. A recent study at Penn State University showed that children under the age of 17 should get at least an hour of physical activity a day, but many of them are unable to. Although they exercise in their extracurriculars, not every activity requires the same amount of exercise and not every sport meets every day after school. Because of this, just relying on extracurriculars makes it almost impossible to know if students are getting the hour of exercise that is required daily. The only way some of these students are getting the fitness they need is through physical education, therefore it remains a necessity to most.

       Whether or not you believe it is necessary, the obesity rates and lack of exercise among students proves that physical education is not going to go away any time soon for student athletes. Physical education simply tries to make sure students are staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Student athletes can even be helped in their sport by participating in gym. With this outlook, hopefully many students will start to enjoy getting the exercise that they need.