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Painfully Poor Physical Education
| Updated: 2016-11-04 12:19:18 | By Carmen King (JIN Magazine) |

Painfully Poor Physical Education

Sadly, it seems children are more sedentary now than ever before. Why? No doubt it is a composite reason, rather a simple singular cause. Still, the advent of technology along with information overload combined with the ability to be “online” nearly 24 x 7 could be a big culprit. In the past children yearned to go outside and play. Now though, kids spend most of their time indoors, hunched over. They are either working tirelessly at completing insane amounts of homework, such as during the infamous Chinese high school years where they are preparing for “Gaokao” (高考) the national college entrance exam, or they are playing video games, chatting on WeChat and surfing the web. Either way, they aren’t moving! No surprise, the physical condition of children seems to be at an all-time low in terms of cardiovascular endurance and anaerobic strength.

Past vs. Present

In the past, physical education perhaps received far more attention. Nowadays most parents seem to be consumed by the concept that a high test score is the meaning of life. In the afternoon all one has to do is ride the bus, subway or walk in the vicinity of schools as kids get out, and it becomes apparent how appalling the physical condition the average young person is in. Sure, these children may be academically more intelligent than ever before, however, it seems to have come at a cost physically. The physical toll of pounding the books isn’t anything new. For this reason, schools from long ago have had as part of the curriculum “Physical Education” (P.E.). This usually starts early during elementary school years and in theory should carry on until graduation. However, the quality of P.E. has often been a bit laughable. Children half-heartily engaging in some rudimentary stretching whereby they don’t even break a sweat can hardly qualify as real physical education. The problem is this lack-luster P.E. curriculum from adolescence on seems to have set children up for physical disaster in later years.

Painfully Poor Physical Education

The problem of inactivity is exacerbated as kids have greater access to junk food than ever before. A visit to any fast food restaurant or convenience store in the vicinity of a school around the time that class lets out will prove this point. What is incredible is that these kids are theoretically too young to work, therefore where are they getting the money to buy that edible garbage? Likewise, a smart phone isn’t free by any means. The cost of a basic cell phone capable of making and receiving calls in the case of an emergency is pennies in comparison to an iPhone 7. Still, many kids are equipped with the latest and greatest digital device. The issue is, where some of these devices may have some alleged educational value in terms of accessing information, or even staying in touch with teachers and classmates, generally speaking these smart-phones are more of trap than a tool. Kids can be seen everywhere messing around with some app on their phone instead of engaging in face to face communication. Not to mention such phone use pretty much prevents the child from engaging in any type of real exercise.

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