Physical Activity in Schools

Physical Activity in Schools


A physically active school will have a
whole school commitment to providing quality physical activity opportunities
for all students through its policies, practices and programs. In New South
Wales public schools there are many opportunities for students to be
physically active. Physical activity is any movement of the body that results in
some expenditure of energy. Physical activity provides an
opportunity for students to acquire and practice a range of personal,
interpersonal, behavioural, social and cognitive skills. Physical activity provides the most
health related benefits for students when performed at moderate to vigorous
levels of intensity. Moderate-intensity physical activities require some effort
and noticeably accelerates the heart rate. Students are still able to talk while
participating in the activities. Vigorous intensity physical activities
require a large amount of effort and a substantial increase in heart rate. Physical activity in childhood has been
shown to provide immediate short-term health benefits, both physical and mental,
improved educational attainment and enhanced life skills. Participation in
physical activity allows students to develop movement skills and feel a sense
of achievement. Participating with others can help students to develop these
skills in problem-solving, leadership, decision making and improve their
ability to develop positive friendships. Physical activity also increases
engagement, attention and memory to enhance student learning in the
classroom. These benefits also track into later
life such that physically active children are more likely to become
active adults. Physically active lifestyles allow children to be
happier and healthier for life. Mandatory planned physical activity occurs
through teaching and learning in Personal Development, Health and Physical
Education, PDHPE, and school sport. Additional
physical activity can be planned or occur incidentally at other times of
the school day such as recess, lunch or in any other learning experience. The goal of student participation in and
learning through physical activity, school sport and physical education
should be physical literacy. Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, understanding and
knowledge to maintain physical activity and an individually appropriate level
throughout life. Schools play a key role in shaping
students to become physically literate and to therefore have the skills,
confidence, attitude and desire to be involved in physical activity throughout
their lives.

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