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The benefits of a physical education program are often overlooked. Regular physical activity is associated with a healthier, longer life, lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. School based programs provide a structured setting in which to integrate physical activities and instruction in good nutrition into students’ daily lives and hopefully develop a lifetime of healthy living.

Physical education programs do more than prevent future health issues. Playing a team sport gives children the opportunity to develop critical life skills, such as problem solving, strategy and working together to achieve a goal. Children learn good sportsmanship and that there is more to sports than simply winning. The training and discipline required to participate in a sport helps build self-confidence. Just as importantly, children learn that physical activity is fun. A broad range of games and activities, along with sports, helps children to learn that exercise is not merely running around a track but is actually something they can enjoy.

Beyond these benefits several large studies have found improvements in students’ academic performance and cognitive ability with increased time spent in physical education. The increased blood flow during exercise transports oxygen to all parts of the body, including the brain, which can help improve memory and reasoning skills. Children who make healthy eating choices concentrate better in school and are less disruptive.

So next time your child wants to opt out of P.E. to spend more time studying for another class or to participate in another activity, remind her that it’s not just about sports but about so much more.

For 26 years, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics Inc. has been recognized as the undisputed leader in one-on-one tutoring in Delaware. In addition, the company offers a unique Department of Education-approved Private School for grades K-12 and a Private Business and Trade School for ages 16 and older. Back to Basics is the 2010 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

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