It seems that the least respected teachers in American high schools are the Physical Education and Health teachers, many of whom are coaches. All they do is throw out the balls and play games. They are not really “teachers.”
This is not at all an accurate picture. Most P.E. teachers I know are as hard-working and dedicated as the best Chemistry, Math or English teachers. I have always known them too, to have the highest levels of energy and enthusiasm
Besides these character traits, another overlooked aspect is the importance of their role in today’s society and their impact on children and adults.
Recent research by the Physical Activity Council “emphatically shows that children in PE are less sedentary and participate in more activities outside of school.”
Risa Livisso-Mourey, the CEO of the Robert Wood Foundation, recently wrote, “The U.S. spends $2.7 trillion a year on health care, more than any other country by far, and yet we are not healthy….So my big idea for 2014 is the emergence of a ‘culture of health.’”
How important is the health of a leader?
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, leading medical professionals are drawing linkages between physical fitness and cognitive abilities. “John Ratey, a neoropsychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and others are finding that … physical activity seems to be important during childhood, powering the brain through the many changes that help us to mature into adulthood. But it may also play a role as we reach advanced age, with a decline in fitness explaining why some people are more prone to dementia than others.”
Coaches and Physical Education teachers are constantly stressing the importance of being in great physical shape and numerous studies have validated the value of physical shape in concert with mental performance.
If you believe in the mind-body connection, then exercise must be a priority in your life-style. And prioritizing is the only way you can attain this connection. You must decide how many times you will work-out each week, prioritize time for your work-outs, and then follow through.
Arguably, one of the most important tasks a leader does on a daily basis is decision-making. The better physical shape a leader is in, the better her / his decision-making may be.
Let’s recognize the work of P.E. teachers and coaches. Their work can lead to life-long health and quality decision-making.