xi's moments
Home | Education

Schools promoting fun activities to ensure children stay fit and healthy

China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-05 09:13

Stepping in time to fast-paced pop tunes, dozens of boys and girls are enjoying dance-like workouts in the playground of a middle school in the eastern city of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.

"I adapted the movements from viral fitness videos on Douyin (a popular short-video platform) and the students just jumped at the physical education classes, hoping to break a sweat," Wang Ping, a PE teacher at Nanjing No 13 Middle School, said.

"It's a great trend as more Chinese children begin to love exercise, and I'm proud to be part of it."

As awareness of children's health grows, parents no longer consider physical exercise to be unnecessary, and the new semester is expected to start with a few ardently embraced changes.

According to the latest guidelines from the Ministry of Education, students in the country's nine-year free compulsory education system, which covers primary and junior middle schools, will have daily PE classes during the next 10 years.

In addition to traditional sports, such as soccer, basketball and athletics, they can choose to build up their bodies and fulfill their potential by opting for activities such as climbing, skateboarding and jumping rope.

"Schools are encouraged to design various creative sports classes and activities catering to the interests of the students, who can ultimately harness their sporting skills and enjoy good physical and mental health," Wang Zongping, a professor at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, said.

Adapting tradition

Playing diabolo, a traditional folk game, has become an everyday workout for nearly all the 367 students at Nanjing Yuhua Primary School. The much-loved sport, in which a spinning top is thrown and caught on a cord fastened to two long sticks, includes whole-body movements.

"The sport, which integrates games and fitness, is my favorite. It can help me exercise my brain and strengthen my body, and most importantly, it's so cool and fun," Ma Jiayin, a fifth grade student, said.

Shen Zhuzhen, headmaster of the primary school, said, "We aim to make our students stay fit while having fun," adding that the school has also started PE classes featuring an adapted dragon dance, another traditional activity.

Last year, China launched the "double reduction" policy to ease academic stress on schoolchildren.

The policy has reduced excessive homework and curbed the frequency of exams and after-school tutoring in core subjects. Since then, schools and families have placed more emphasis on sports.

Short videos of students at a primary school in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region participating in a group bamboo dance have gained many likes on social media. It is a novel attempt by the school to combine folk dance with physical education.

Meanwhile, nearly 2,500 students run in spectacular changing formations that resemble the slithering serpent from the classic mobile game Snake at Haimen No 1 Middle School in Jiangsu.

"We hope to bring more fun to the exercises to attract more students," Chen Jianming, the school's PE teacher who choreographed the exercises, said.

Inspired by the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, a growing number of schoolchildren are now whooping with delight on ice rinks and snow slopes.

By the end of last year, more than 2,800 schools across the country were offering winter sports.

Tackling future problems

Insufficient exercise is linked to a higher risk of obesity, a looming threat to the health of the younger generation. A report released by the China National Children's Center last year showed the overweight and obesity rate of primary and secondary school students rose by 8.7 percentage points from 2010 to 2019.

Research by health authorities showed that in 2020, the overall rate for myopia among Chinese juveniles reached 52.7 percent, while a domestic report on mental health noted that the rate of depression among adolescents was 24.6 percent from 2019 to 2020.

"Exercise has other benefits beyond the physical kind. It can also boost your mood and make you more cheerful," Goran Martinovic, a Croatian coach who runs a boxing gym in Jiangsu, said. "I have found that in recent years, more Chinese children have been exercising for healthier lifestyles."

According to a recent draft revision to the Law on Physical Culture and Sports, education and sports departments, schools and parents should organize and guide young people to play sports to prevent and control myopia and obesity.

"We design different courses based on the students' ages to help improve their physical fitness and fully tap their athletic talent," Jin Hao, a fencing coach at the Royal Grammar School Nanjing, said.

The school regards physical education as one of its core missions. It offers more than 20 sports courses, and has an indoor sports center covering 8,000 square meters.

"My reaction and jumping abilities have improved a lot through daily training, and now I have a deeper understanding of teamwork," Shen Zihao, an eighth grader at the school, said.

"Winning is not everything, and the same is true when it comes to schoolwork and life."


Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349