Physical Fitness Guidelines in Public Schools for the 21st Century


boy on swingIntroduction

The western world began introducing Physical Education into the curriculum of many schools in the early 19th Century.  PE undertook a lot of changes and by the start of 20th century, elements such as hygiene, bodily health and exercise had been incorporated. The guidelines regulating physical education have changed as well.

Below are some Physical Fitness Guidelines in Public Schools today:

1.  Students should be conversant with strategies, movement concepts, and principles that apply to performance and learning of physical activities

This guideline is concerned with two concepts; Body Management and Locomotor Movement.

In body management, students need to undertake lessons and exercises to help them in identifying and describing body parts: head, hands, shoulders, and toes among others. Locomotor movement requires students participation in activities to show their skills of walking, jogging, running, jumping and so on.

2.  Assess extent of physical fitness to boost health and performance

This guideline touches on Fitness concept, Aerobic Capacity, Flexibility, Body Composition and Endurance and Muscular Strength.

Fitness concepts require students to participate in a variety of physical activities considered to be challenging yet enjoyable such as running, tug-of-war and press-ups while aerobic capacity exercises boost heart rate and breathing in some vigorous physical activities for at least three days every week. In endurance and muscular strength, students need to undergo exercises as hanging from overhead ropes and bars for longer periods of time and climbing a ladder or any other steep surfaces. Flexibility concept encourages students to take part in activities such as stretching involving legs, arms, shoulders, and back without bouncing while body composition is measured by the students’ ability to endure continuous movements for an extended period while doing vigorous to moderate physical activity.

kids playing
3.  Students should show movement and motor skills required to do a range of physical activities

This guideline involves such concepts as Body Management, Movement Concepts, and Manipulative Skills.
Movement concepts require students to do an array of exercises. First, they should travel in larger groups, without falling or bumping into each other to demonstrate locomotor skills. Second, they should move forward and sideways, rapidly changing the direction whenever a signal is conveyed. Third, they should show the similarity between fast and slow speeds while using locomotor skills. Eventually, they need to attempt making shapes at varying height levels i.e. high, medium, and low by using arms, hands, torso, legs, and feet in a different of combinations.In body management, students need to demonstrate motor skills by making shapes using locomotor movements. They are also required to indicate the relationship of directional cues such as over, under, behind, through, next to, right, left, in front of, forward, down, backward, and up by using an object and the body object. Manipulative skills are tested by requiring students to participate in directional cues such as over, under, behind, through, next to, right, left, in front of, forward, down, backward, and up by using an object and the body object as striking a light stationary object.

4. Students show knowledge of sociological and psychological principles and strategies that can be applied to the learning and performing physical activity

This guideline entails self-responsibility, social interaction and group dynamics. Self-responsibility requires students to visualize and analyze the eventual feelings that result from participating in physical activity.  In social interaction, students must have the capability to share in a physical activity and discuss the reasons why positive social interaction makes the physical activity with other groups more fun. In group dynamics, students should be able to play the role of a leader and a follower in different combinations during physical activities.

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