The Real Aspects of Physical Education
What is Physical Activity? More Than Just Sports
Most people, even teachers, confuse physical activity with sports, but it is not the same thing. Physical activity is a big category that comprises, as the words say, any kind of activity that requires physical movement to do so. Jogging, walking, cycling, tai chi, hide-and-seek, weights, football, tennis, aerobics, all of them are different types of physical activity.
There are different ways of categorizing different kinds of physical activity. For example, sports are a sub-category of “games” and could be defined as a type of game which is very standardized and has a strong competitive emphasis. We also have the category of “fitness” which involves a big range of activities guided by and instructor or a monitor with the aim of maximize the health benefits of exercise. Then we have the “free outdoor” physical activities, as climbing, walking, running, and so on.
I suggest those who are interested in a more detailed classification or in a deeper description of what physical activity is to read Parlebas, a french physical education theorist and one the most influential in that area. Those who like the debate about whether chess is a sport or not will find interesting the controversial reflections of Parlebas as well.
So What is a Physical Education Class?
After knowing this, we can comprehend that a physical education class is not a sports’ class. It is a class where different kinds of and different ways of doing physical activity are introduced, with the purpose of educating the students through them. The teacher is mean to engage the students in four aspects: mental, physical, social and emotional.
This said, in the next article in this series we will explore, in practical terms, how to organize a yearly physical education classes whose objectives will be, as it was said in other occasion, “to help the students to fall in love with exercise in such a way that they introduce it in their lives on a regular basis”.