Is Gym Actually Beneficial to Students?

Amelia Wignall, Journalist

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Most middle school and high school students have to take gym class, at least for one Semester. Students are told that gym benefits their physical health and teaches them how to take care of their bodies.  

Catharine Blaine’s Gym

Each middle school Catharine Blaine student had to take one semester of gym this year unless they got a pass out of it. They go every morning and change into their gym uniform in the locker rooms and then spend close to an hour doing whatever the gym teachers, Mr. Miller, and Ms. Pickens, planned for that day. This varies from playing sports like volleyball and basketball, to playing class vs. class games such as capture the cones, which is a favorite among middle school students.  

Fitness Testing

Twice a semester, students must participate in five graded fitness tests: the flexibility test, the push-up test, the curl-up test, the pacer test, and the mile. These five tests usually take place over the course of 1-2 weeks, and the scores are recorded, and the teachers look at the improvement levels of each student from the beginning to the end of the semester. Hanging on the wall is the 50th percentile score you should get for each test, and students are expected to meet, if not exceed, these scores. These tests and meeting the expected scores might seem like a breeze to the more athletic students, but for the students who have a hard time on the tests, fitness testing is a dreaded event in the school year.   

Pros of Gym

Gym may be a source of discomfort for some students, but it does benefit them in several ways. Gym gives students an hour of exercise every day that some of them wouldn’t have otherwise gotten that day. They can remain more physically fit than if they hadn’t had gym and they will be healthier because of that. Gym doesn’t only benefit the students physically, but mentally. When a student is in better physical shape, their brain can remember things better and do better on tests. They learn teamwork when working with their friends and classmates, and also how to work with people they wouldn’t want to work with/don’t get along with. 

Cons of Gym

While gym class has lots of benefits, it also can be harmful in some ways. Some students who take gym class more seriously than others can get upset when a student who is on their “team” doesn’t do exactly what they want them to do. Also, when a student sees other people doing better on fitness tests than they do, it might be hard to accept that they can do better at you when they’re not even trying that hard. In a 45 minute class of gym, studies show that a student remains active for only approximately 16 of those minutes. Gym takes up a lot of time for so little exercise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, gym has both its pros and its cons. While some of the cons seem pretty hard, I think that the pros overrule the cons and that gym, overall, is beneficial for students in middle and high school.