Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Physical Education versus Physical Activity
In a previous blog, the topic discussed was about the importance of teaching students physical activities and nutritional eating habits at an early age to encourage a lifetime of health. In this blog, the differences between physical education and physical activity will be explained.
Physical Education Mission
The purpose of physical education classes are to teach students a variety of physical activities and nutritional eating habits. School physical education programs offer the best opportunity to provide physical activity to all children and to teach them the skills and knowledge needed to establish and sustain an active lifestyle.1 The basic skill sets of each physical activity are taught to students so they may be able to participate in that physical activity during their free time outside of school.
The expectations of a physical education class is much different from those of an athletics program or competitive recreational program. Physical education contains physical activity, but it also contains a lot of other things that set up children for long-term health of the body, mind, and spirit.2 Physical education focuses more on the lifetime health of students rather than performance.
What is Physical Activity?
Physical activity is considered to be anything that requires the body to move. When kids are at home and head out to play freeze tag or red light green light, or when they head to dance practice, or when they chase lightning bugs around the yard, it also accounts for physical activity...It releases endorphins, builds muscle and bone density, and improves coordination.2 These types of physical activities are beneficial to the health of students, but it is not considered physical education because cognitive learning is not taking place.
It is important to know that there is a difference between PE and physical activity even though physical activity is included in PE. The difference is that during recreational physical activity there is no cognitive learning taking place. Next to be discussed are the responsibilities of a PE teacher.
1Shape America. (ND). Is it physical education or physical activity? Retrieved November 9, 2016 from:
2Spark. (ND). Physical activity vs. pe: what’s the difference? Retrieved November 9, 2016 from:http://www.sparkpe.org/blog/physical-activity-vs-physical-education/