Exercise Should Be a 'Core' Class?

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Exercise Should Be a 'Core' Class?
Fri, 05-24-2013 - 8:01am

Children need a full hour of exercise in schools every day, and not just in physical education classes, the Institute of Medicine recommended on Thursday.

Schools that have dumped education classes need to put them back on the schedule, the report recommends. They also need to help kids get up and moving in the classroom, at recess and after school, a committee of experts appointed by the Institute reported.

The panel acknowledged they are adding pressure to schools that have been forced to add days of standardized testing to the schedule, as well as hours of instruction and preparation for the tests. But the committee said children not only need the exercise for their health – they need it so they can learn better.


What do you think? Should exercise be a daily 'core' class in school?

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Avatar for demecafe
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Fri, 05-24-2013 - 8:15am

In our schools we don't have recess, so I think a core class would be good. But at the same time, I feel like a general recess may be better. Less structured exercise/socializing. (And I say this as a mom of a kid that NEEDS structure.) I don't feel it should be a class that they are graded on. I hated that when I was in HS. I am not athletic. Walking and general exercise are fine for me, but sports, uh, no. ;)


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2012
Fri, 05-24-2013 - 8:35am

Yes I do believe it would be a good idea but that completely depends on how it is done. I think the teachers that are hired to teach these classes need to be certified personal trainers and work with each child to teach them how to get the most out of exercise according to their own bodies. No more gym class where the school athletes are the stars and the teacher makes everyone who is not on a sports team feel like crap about themselves for the rest of their lives.

Avatar for melissamc
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2007
Fri, 05-24-2013 - 2:42pm

I'm amazed when I hear that schools no longer offer recess or it's very limited.  This is not recent news, there have been several studies out over the past few years saying the same thing. In our elementary school, they get one hour of unstructured recess a day (a 15 minute session in morning and afternoon, and 30 minutes before lunch).  The kids are on the playground equipment, playing kickball, hopscotch, etc.  They also have gym class that rotates with other special classes like music and library.  I believe that's 3 times a week.  Whenever the PTO (I'm a member) adds new playground equimpment, we make the choice keeping in mind that it will work other muscles in their bodies than what is currently on the playground.  They also implemented a new program a couple of years ago where the kids do specific exercises before going into the reading resource room since it gets their brains going.  Our reading scores have improved so much with that change along with other programs they've implemented.   They switched lunch recess to before they eat and have found that there are less behavior issues in the lunchroom, and the kids eat much better because they aren't in a hurry to finish up so they can get out to recess. 

How can you lecture adults to exercise more and be healthy, when the kids don't even get recess at school?  I think parents need to start standing up for their kids and demanding recess. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Fri, 05-24-2013 - 11:10pm

Yes, not only for exercise, but also for a mental break in the day.  I also think that it should be sports/task oriented to build up social skills, school spirit and camaraderie among the students.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 05-28-2013 - 3:36pm

I think one of the biggest mistakes in modern public education is getting rid of, or paring down, recess, gym class, and the arts. All of these are necessary for healthy development, and all of them contribute not only to physical and mental health, but to academic learning. I think the rise of some learning disabilities, as well as ADHD, is due to the emphasis of brain-learning over whole self learning.

My daughter, who is a 17 year old HS senior, just finished a 3 week internship helping at a private elementary school. They had PE 3 days a week (more than she ever had in her public elementary) and she said the difference in behavior and focus was so stark on the days the kids had PE vs the days they did not that she was absolutely stunned that they didn't have it every single day. Children are not meant to cram stuff into their heads all day long without exercising their bodies (PE, recess) or spirits (art, music, drama.) I think the lack of art and physical activity has contributed to the disaster that is American public education as much as any other factor, including low standards, the ridiculous "teaching to the test" mentality, and poor discipline at home.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Fri, 06-07-2013 - 10:06am

Yes, I do think exercise should be a daily core class, but IMO it should be general exercise, not sports. When a child is not athletic, they tend not to engage in that activity ... therefore, making the class pointless.