Gym? What's a Gym? Oh, a gym.
by Elissa Waldmuller, Lifestyles co-Editor
At a time when child obesity is becoming a more evident problem, one would think
gym classes would be a mandatory, year-round class. However, in most states,
it's not. Many schools across the country are cutting gym down to a semester
course (like here at West G.), while some schools are cutting it completely.
Gym classes are being sacrificed across the country to save money and satisfy
federal mandates that stress test scores in math and reading.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 20% of all children have serious weight problems. Last year a federal study concluded that, "Physical inactivity has contributed to an unprecedented epidemic of childhood obesity that's plaguing the country." More than 60 percent of children, aged 9 to 13, don't participate in any organized physical activity during their after school hours. 23% percent of all children don't engage in any free-time physical activity. Why is it that when gym is needed the most to keep kids fit, schools are phasing it out?
I admit that most gym classes aren't exactly invigorating athletics. Gym these days can be geared to the class as a whole and not to the individual student. Many students hate gym because they are not as physically fit as other students. Some hate gym because it does nothing but point out flaws and humiliate them. Gym teachers tend to think that all students are the same and that all can work to the same level.
Gym class shouldn't be about who is the fastest or the most athletic. It should be about letting kids work to their maximum aerobic capacity and not to what the teacher feels it is. It should be about keeping a child healthy and teaching him/her how to stay fit by using simple but productive exercises. Gym class should teach children that distance and speed don't matter: all that matters is that they're working to keep themselves healthy. Gym is a very important class in a child's life, but much needs to be changed about it before it can fulfill its full potential.