Gym Class? No Thanks.

Dear Editor: Physical education, or gym class, is required in many schools around the nation.

I agree that schools should promote physical activity, but many students are well-trained athletes that should be able to acquire physical education credit for the time devoted to their sport(s) outside of school. This is a topic that sparked personal interest because I am a level nine gymnast that trains for 20 per week. Government studies and University policies prove the rigorous activity of gymnastics is an adequate substitution for required gym class credits. When I was a scheduling for my freshman year at the North Allegheny Intermediate High School, my mother required that I take a study hall instead of having room to schedule Honors Biology. Because of that decision I am currently considered “behind” on my science studies, which I wish to pursue for college and a career. A study hall in place of gym class would have provided enough space for the Honors Biology course.

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Studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that “children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.” Let’s go through a typical training week for me is as follows: Monday 3-7, Tuesday 3-6, Wednesday 7-9, Thursday 3-6:30, Friday 3-6:30, Saturday 8:30-12:30, and Sunday is my only day off. That equals 20 hours per week and averages to about 3 hours per day. The CDC listed the types of physical activity needed as aerobic activity, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening. Daily, 30 minutes are spent on warm up (aerobic activity), 30 minutes are spent on conditioning (muscle strengthening), and the event workouts focus on agility (bone strengthening). Others may argue that there is an off-season for everything, and we should have to participate in gym class.

Although the actual competition season is December through April, my team continues to train year round with increased summer hours. Advanced Placement classes reward college credit to save time and money. Sports and physical education should be similar. Doing a sport should receive credit for physical education. In place of when you would have gym class, a study hall would be taken.

The Central Connecticut State University varsity athletics page clearly states that “varsity athletes will not be permitted to register for these [physical education] courses while ‘in season’ for their sport.” Doing 20 hours of gymnastics per week more than meets the requirements for adolescents and physical activity. Gym class provides an hour to an hour and a half of light to moderate activity per week, which does not provide any substantial improvement in my overall well being. Many athletes dedicate their whole lives to a sport, and the sacrifices they make for it should be an adequate substitution for the physical education courses offered at the North Allegheny School District. Sincerely, Brittany Wilson