P.E. classes can lead to life-long loathing of exercise

Jacqueline Guillena, Staff Writer

Adults who embrace or loathe physical activity often credit childhood experiences for their views about exercise. Unsurprisingly, one factor stands out: whether they did or did not enjoy P.E. class in school. Physical education is often regarded as a subject of humor or parody — who hasn’t seen the typical chubby, nerdy boy trying to outrun the ball in dodgeball?
“I strongly disliked P.E. because I hated changing in front of the girls,” Consumer Foods teacher Kelly Smith said. “It was very uncomfortable, and we ran a lot, which made me very sweaty.”
These negative views are sometimes formed from years of being required to participate in different sports in P.E. Some students say that the Bear Creek P.E. teachers are strict; if a teacher sees a stretch or activity not performed properly, students lose points, which often results in a poor grade.
“P.E. is supposed to be fun,” sophomore Jhanaia Oliveira said. “The teachers are strict about the way we stretch, and even for our dress code, it can only be school colors, and black doesn’t even count when it should.”
Because the students are graded mostly on participation, students receive points for dressing in school-approved P.E. uniforms — often an area in which students lose their daily points. Those that refuse to dress often find themselves facing consequences like detention after the second warning.
“My grade was dropped significantly because I didn’t dress or even if I wore black leggings because it wasn’t part of school colors,” junior Nancy Vang said.
Another reason traditional P.E. courses don’t always motivate students to be physically active is the challenging requirements instituted by the state in its Physical Fitness test, a test that bases results on a student’s BMI.
“The mile was the test that I hated because it was hard to beat the time we were given to be able to pass, plus no one really tries in the miles because no one likes to run,” junior Aaron Feingold said.
To help make physical activity more enjoyable and meet state requirements, this year, Bear Creek started offering new activities to help students’ interests in fitness: gymnastics, self-defense, yoga, square dancing, softball, hockey, pickleball, golf, ultimate frisbee and cycling. It is hoped that exposing students to a variety of physical fitness activities will open up a gateway for students to find an interest in being physically active.
¨Yoga helps me relieve stress and it calms me down,” Amari Gonzales said. “Yoga has motivated me to continue doing it at home and on my own time whenever I feel tense.”
This generation is predicted to live for a shorter amount of time than their parents due to health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Other factors that contribute to determining health conditions are this generation’s worsening diets and the role of technology in their lives.
Over the last several decades, fast food restaurants have supersized their offerings while simultaneously lowering their prices, which reels in younger customers. Similarly, technologies and devices distract children from being outside running around and playing. It is a rarity to see kids outside without being on an electronic device.
Becoming physically active at a younger age is important because it teaches the child discipline and can change one’s lifestyle to living healthier. Being able to stay fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle will risk health factors that may become part of someone’s life.