Physical education is an important component for any age, but middle school students are at an in-between period where fitness can have a big impact on their physical health and overall outlook. Middle school is an awkward time of physical development and often significant changes in social relationships. Middle school sports programs give kids a chance to use some energy, boost self-esteem, get fit and develop the confidence needed to live life as a teen.
According to the University of Michigan, an average child in the United States gets 43 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, yet spends approximately 20 percent of her time overall watching television. Middle school sports are important outlets for exercise that promote cardiovascular fitness and weight management among kids between the ages of 12 and 16. Middle school students have reached the age where their health habits change. They may be less active than they were while in elementary school. Implementing middle school sports programs helps kids to practice healthy behaviors that can turn into good habits.
Something for Every Body
Middle school students can enjoy many different types of sports, depending on what is available through the school or community. Many schools or local fitness centers offer sports leagues for middle school-aged kids, such as basketball, volleyball, football and soccer. These types of team sports offer social interaction and a feeling of teamwork with other kids of similar age. For students with fewer options for school leagues, some other sports may be available that can still provide plenty of exercise. Examples include running, biking, karate or golf.
Broadening the Options
Because some schools do not offer sports as part of the regular curriculum, middle school students may need to find sports activities outside of the regular school day. Encouraging middle school kids to participate in sports provides an outlet for exercise and social gathering. Some options for sports for middle school students include community sports leagues or special teen memberships at fitness facilities. Parents who recognize that they are role models for their children and who regularly exercise are more likely to have kids in middle school who are also more active.
Some middle school students may be moving away from participating in sports activities if it is no longer required in school. As kids move into middle school, recess times that once were a regular part of elementary school days become a thing of the past. Additionally, some schools change their curriculum to allow less physical education as part of middle school requirements. Many middle school students who do take gym class are also learning other modules at the same time, such as health, nutrition or sex education. While these courses are important, they typically do not involve true physical activities or sports during the day for middle school students.