As Twitter is launching its new #FitnessFriday hashtag I will force myself to give it a quick thought through this post. Two things came to my mind.
1. I remember dreading PE lessons in secondary school. All I could expect from each session was a large competition where unsurprisingly, the tallest would get the best mark at long jump, the biggest would struggle to get a pass at athletics, the one who can afford Wednesday afternoon gymnastics lessons would do great at it, and the football fans would beg teachers to mark their football skills. I was a year younger than most people in my class, and I was entitled, as a result, to get a slightly better mark for equal performances. My task at the beginning of each school year was therefore to remind my PE teacher about that rule. A tiny win in that stressful mess.
2. Now that I am in the final process of my PhD and writing my thesis, I have recently decided that I absolutely needed to find a way to keep my motivation flowing, but also to plug off my mind at least once a day. Surprisingly, very surprisingly, I have discovered that sports could bring that to me, although I had spent the previous 24 years denying that. By starting my average writing day with a few dozen laps in the swimming pool, my mind is absolutely cleared for the morning; all ready to go after that. No performance, no comparison. This is the kind of sports I had never been introduced to. I think Nike Women perfectly illustrated the feeling that many twenty-something year-olds like me felt.
So why don't we teach our schoolkids that a good day should include such effort? I do not agree with those who believe there shouldn't be any marks at school, but I definitely think that PE is not one of the subjects where an assessment should take place. Let's give physical education a meaning again by making schoolkids start or finish their school day with an hour of pure exercise, focused on each individual's development rather than a performance compared to the other students. Let's also teach them about healthy eating by the same token, by therefore giving a meaning to the old cheesy mens sana in corpore sano. If we want to offer successful education to the next generation of citizens, we cannot let them start in life in mediocre conditions.
You can watch Jamie Oliver's Sugar Rush on All4 for more views on education and healthy practices.