Physical education is the study of the human body, from building strength to the most basic functions of daily life.
The physical education industry has been in the spotlight in recent years, with companies such as Disney and Nike having been accused of failing to provide adequate physical education lessons to students, and the industry in general being criticised for being “over-promoted”.
But the issue has gained a new prominence following the recent coronavirus pandemic, which has seen thousands of people die and millions of people exposed to coronaviruses.
While there are many physical education experts who argue that physical education is essential for the healthy growth of a society, it has recently come under fire from academics who have criticised the industry for not providing enough training to students.
“I’ve never heard anyone say that physical exercise isn’t important for a healthy life,” Professor Chris Hogg, a professor of physical education at the University of Exeter and a former director of the UK’s National Physical Education Laboratory, told Al Jazeera.
“That is, it is very important.”
The British government has already put forward a plan to improve the physical education curriculum, including setting a minimum age of 16 and allowing parents to choose between physical education classes and sport.
In April, a study from the University College London (UCL) suggested that physical activity might help reduce the number of premature deaths from heart disease and strokes.
“I think there are a lot of benefits that can come from physical education and exercise that are positive for the wellbeing of children,” said Professor Hogg.
“It could be the difference between having a healthy child and not having a child at all.”
Hogg is currently chairing a new project called ‘Physical Education for Health’ at UCL, and is encouraging students to take part in a 10-week physical education course.
He says the initiative will include a wide range of physical activity, including aerobics, stretching, jumping, cycling, and running.
Professor Hogg also says the curriculum is important for people with physical disabilities, and suggests the government should take action on the topic.
“The current curriculum for physical education in the UK is very good.
The Government needs to make it more robust to include all people with disabilities,” he said.
He also believes physical education could be used to improve people’s wellbeing, and that more education could help prevent premature deaths.
For more health news from the UK, follow us on Twitter: @Aljazeerauk “There is an awful lot of research that says physical activity and physical education are really good things for people’s health.
We should be doing more of it,” he added.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has also expressed concerns about the government’s physical education plans, calling them “misleading”.
“There’s a lot to be said for encouraging more physical activity,” BMA chief executive Simon Stevens told the BBC’s Health Unit.
In May, the BMA called on the government to publish a report by the National Physical education Authority on how the industry could make its lessons more accessible.
However, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that “any government that wants to make the best use of the physical exercise we have to offer to all our young people, they need to ensure that they are well equipped to do so”.
Hunt’s comments are not the first time that the BMBH has criticised the government.
In 2014, it called for the government “to ensure that all lessons are available to pupils in all areas of the curriculum, and to ensure the UK has a strong physical education programme” following the outbreak of the pandemic.
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