How to encourage physical activities at school

Physical activities at school continue to be one of the pending subjects, not only because of the hours of Physical Education taught.

Faced with a sedentary lifestyle, the school plays a fundamental role in acquiring the necessary skills for the practice of physical activity among the youngest. Especially considering that there is a serious latent problem in Spain: 80% of minors only exercise during school hours. And it is that children move less and less, with all that that implies. The time dedicated to Physical Education classes in schools and the teachers. Who teaches this subject, and the involvement of everyone in making an inclusive and more active playground is key, as we will see below.

How many hours of Physical Education should children have at school?

Spain is one European country that dedicates fewer hours per week to Physical Education. Specifically, an average of two hours. Between the three hours recommended by the European Parliament and the minimum of one hour per week stipulated by Spanish law. This means that most autonomous communities teach for two hours. Although there are new positions. Madrid, for example, has just approved the third hour, which will be implemented from the 2022-2023 academic year.

However, we are still a long way from those taught by countries like France.  Which dedicates five hours of school hours to exercise and physical activities at school. This is precisely the country that, according to Vicente Martínez de Haro, professor of Physical Education, Sport and Human Motricity at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), should serve as an example. “The French Secondary model comprises of two hours of Physical Education and three hours of physical-sports exercises., a total of five hours a week. The Physical Education subject consists of teaching through movement and aims to train future active people aware of what they can do, why, how, and what capabilities they have. The physical-sports activity consists simply of practicing what one likes”, analyzes Martínez de Haro.

In the educational system, a balance must be sought between the different subjects to obtain educated and well-trained citizens for the future, teaching what is useful to them.

In a similar vein is Alejandro Lucía Mulas, Professor of Exercise Physiology at the European University. This scholar of exercise believes that. it should be a daily subject, called Physical Activity, and dedicate at least one hour of active play. Such as fast walking or jumping every day, in addition to two or three weekly sessions of general strengthening (gymnastics type ).

Trained Teachers for Physical Activities at School

Lucía Mulas highlights the essential role of teachers. “The soundness of the upcoming grown-ups relies a ton upon these experts, although until the present time. I have felt quite unsure about whether Physical Education classes have accomplished more against the inactive way of life or rather for it.”

The specialist refers to certain methodologies that have been implemented in classes for years. In his opinion, must be changed. “For instance, the overweight kid with little ability for sports can be isolated perpetually from a functioning life or from getting a charge out of sports. Assuming you cause him to contend in mediocre circumstances contrasted with messes around with a superior hereditary inclination or to do Cooper’s test. Which comprises venturing to every part of the best distance quickly.

There’s no need to focus on showing sports. Which is superb, yet I would leave it for extracurricular exercises. Yet about rehearsing active work. Hence, wellbeing”, explains the professor at the European University.

Inclusive patios, what are they?

The experts assure that, in addition to the importance of expanding the number of hours dedicated to physical activities in schools and the centers. It is necessary to implement more active recreation. This initiative requires a redesign of the playground and the monitoring of teachers or a team in charge. For keeping them active and avoiding the isolation that occurs among many students. Who does not find alternatives for play or physical activity?

Reasons why children should do physical activities at school

Many of the conflicts between the students arise during the recess. A great fault for this lies in the fact that traditionally. These spaces have not provided activities. Leisure opportunities for all of them. They run from one place to another in the yard and shout a lot. But few minors can get together and play. On the other hand, football in most schools is the king of recess. Its balls take it over, leaving little room for those who do not like its practice.

How to turn a patio into an inclusive space: two successful examples

✅ Public school Our Lady of the Dove (Madrid)

An example is a public school Nuestra in Madrid, which since 2018, has enjoyed this playground concept. According to its director, Belén González, “the balance is positive. It is a project launched jointly in which the entire educational community (teachers, parents, and students) participated”, explains the person in charge.

On the one hand, there was a design change since more game elements were included. So that greater diversity was possible, more vegetation, color, drawings, and shapes. Organization since the teacher had to serve as a guide. To promote actions that include all students.


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