It is no secret that physical activity and exercise are vital for the physical health and wellbeing of us all, especially children as they grow and develop rapidly, however at a time like this we should also be very aware of the emotional and psychological implications of a quarantine. Having to sit at a laptop for hours each day is clearly not an ideal environment for learning however we need to adapt and adjust to this, something I believe our students have been great at. To ensure our entire health and wellbeing, not just our physical bodies, is taken care of I would encourage everybody to participate in some sort of physical activity or exercise each day. This could be Yoga, Dancing, playing with a ball, going for a walk/run/swim (where possible) or anything else where you take yourself and, more importantly, your mind away from classwork/work and the stress and worries they may cause.
Short term effects
Just thirty minutes of moderate exercise is enough for our bodies to release hormones that are medically proven to relax us and increase our happiness levels, something all of us can use from time to time. Sitting still is unfortunately a bi-product of online learning so students can understandably get restless and struggle to focus, participating in physical exercise can help immensely by simply allowing them to ‘burn off some steam’ so they can return focused and able to learn more efficiently. Having an outlet for any stress or frustration that may build up during a day is vital for all people but especially our students who are at a pivotal point in their development. As we take part in more online lessons with the PE staff. or swim more often in the pool, or whatever it is we do each day to get active, we will gradually see improvements, it's easier to swim for longer or to do more squats during a workout. This naturally pleases us and we gain confidence that can help not only in sports but also classwk, setting and achieving goals once you have experienced success breeds confidence and the more we succeed the more our self-esteem improves.
Long term effects
In the long term if we can experience these emotions and pleasant feelings it bodes well for inciting a lifelong interest in physical activity which has benefits for a multitude of reasons from social interactions, weight management, immune system improvements, enjoyment, higher chance of resisting illnesses, just for fun, heightened self-esteem and many, many more. Our students are still very young and moldable so we should allow them to experiment with a variety of sports and physical activities until they find the ones, or the one, that they enjoy and can participate in, hopefully, for many years to come. We are not expecting all students to become athletes or run marathons but what we desire is that in PE they learn the basic skills needed and get to experience a wide variety of sports that one day they may realise they enjoyed and can pursue recreationally or competitively.
During this online learning phase please encourage your children to get active, get outside (where possible) and to forget their busy schedules for a short period of time each day. Join in with them if you want, I know I feel much happier and content if I have done some physical exercise during the day. If students are not enthusiastic about the online lessons provided by their PE teacher please feel free to find an alternative, we won't be offended! As long as the students are staying active and healthy we are happy.