Life after P.E.
Juniors and seniors adapt to lives without physical education.
November 13, 2014
I remember whining about P.E. for two years straight. Just the thought of changing out of my clothes and putting on the unflattering P.E. outfit made me unhappy. There were also all the runs in the hot weather, exercises, games I sucked at, and sometimes being tardy to my next class because I could not get dressed fast enough.
During my freshman and sophomore years, I looked at P.E. as the irrelevant class. I didn’t think it was important and certainly did not think it helped me in any way. It was just a class required by the state and I could not wait until my junior year to finally stop taking the class.
Little did I know that life after P.E. is not that great.
Two weeks after the summer break, I felt like something was missing from my life. I noticed myself getting lazier and heavier. I did not want to get out of bed and I wanted to eat all day. So, one day I decided to turn my life around and I started going on runs every morning at 6 a.m. I took my best friend with me to keep me company and make my “life-changing-healthy-lifestyle” journey more enjoyable.
“I went running because I wanted to do something productive for my body instead of sleeping until 12 p.m. and waking up feeling down and tired,” said my best friend, junior Elen Hakoupiani. “I also started a healthy diet to go along with my fitness. I reduced my meal sizes and incorporated more vegetables and fruits on my plate,” she added.
I ran every day for more than two months, and I noticed many good things happening to both my emotional and physical states: I was not as lazy as I used to be; I felt happier and had way more energy; and I also lost some weight and became more muscular. My morning runs filled the hole that P.E. once occupied.
I ran every day for more than two months, and I noticed many good things happening to both my emotional and physical states.
— Iren Harutyunyan
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, more than one third of adolescents are obese. Obesity is a growing problem in the U.S. and causes many health and emotional problems for teens. Good diet and hard physical exercise can stop obesity and make teens have healthier lives.
According to a recent blog entry on Marathon Training, running and other exercises have many health benefits, including the prevention cardiovascular diseases, the support of healthier and denser bones, and even the lengthening of one’s lifespan.
Running and other exercises were mandatory during P.E. If you didn’t do them, then your grade would suffer. So we did it. Every other day. (Unless you had seventh period P.E., then you felt unlucky and uttered “Ugh, I hate having P.E. every single day.”)
At the time, I didn’t feel all the benefits of having P.E. It was just a burden I had to carry for two years then I would be free. But once it was over, I felt it and kind of missed it actually. I realized the actual reason behind the state making it a law. It helped the students stay in shape and avoid various diseases.
“P.E. helped a lot because we weren’t sitting down the whole day,” said junior Hayk Mkrtchyan. “We got an hour and a half of exercise. The sports were really fun because everyone was playing and not being lazy; well, not in my period at least.
Junior Argeen Ghazarian similarly said, “I feel like it helped most people stay healthy because that’s the only exercise they would get since they are so busy outside of school and don’t have time for sports or exercising.”
Most of my classmates have the same response. They now feel as if physical education provided them with something that no other class did. They miss having a free “gym” two or three times a week. They say they need to fill in the gap now that P.E. is over.
Different people have different favorite activities to stay in shape. Some run, some go to the gym regularly, some do workouts at home.
I do workouts at home now that I don’t have time to run. I turn on YouTube, search my favorite channel, FitnessBlender, and start exercising. The goal is to sweat as much as I can. Sweat is my fat crying.
Junior Tony Petrossian says he found a way to stay in shape by incorporating his favorite sport, soccer. He says that he felt the need to continue playing soccer during the week because he was used to playing it during P.E. “I enjoyed P.E. because I could play my sport, but now I have to go out in the field after school, using some of my homework time, to relieve my stress and stay healthy,” Petrossian said.
Another junior, Connor McGarrah, was always into running and never found a reason to dislike it. When P.E. was over, he decided to join a triathlon team and continue doing the one thing he missed from his years of physical education — running. “When I first started running, I knew it was something that I would learn to love. It was very hard in the beginning, but as I practiced, I got better, faster and stronger,” said McGarrah. “Now I train for different marathons and running events around California. I just finished a half-marathon (13-mile run) in San Francisco last weekend; it was one of the greatest races I have ever competed in.”
P.E. teacher Chris Axelgard said that physical education would certainly help the upperclassmen to stay healthy. “I think P.E. should last longer because it gives the students an opportunity to get in shape and have fun playing different sports with their friends,” he said. “If everyone could just take the time and search up ‘the health benefits of exercise,’ they would line Fi ran up for more physical education classes.”
Similarly, P.E. teacher Judy Thomsen said that the class provides the students with their basic needs to be healthy and live a longer life. She said that everyone should cherish the years of P.E. and after it’s over, not get lazy and exercise even more. She told me that P.E. was provided for four years, but later on had to be cut because of money problems.
“It’s a shame that juniors and seniors are not provided with P.E.,” said Thomsen. “It would be great to be able to build more sports and exercise skills on the foundation kids got during their freshman and sophomore years,” she said. She told me that her favorite quote is “A mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is the other 90% of a child.” She explained that in her opinion, wasting your body and ruining its health is one of the worst things you can do to yourself.
According to the California Department of Education website, “P.E. is an integral part of the overall education program for every student and provides one of the few opportunities students have to develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to lead a physically active lifestyle.”
P.E. and healthy habits can help students get better grades. “Our bodies and minds are connected,” said Hakoupiani. “If you work on one, the other will get better as well.”