Athletes who play it should earn the credit

in Opinion by

Every high school student in the state of Florida is required to earn a half credit of physical education in order to graduate. The state defines physical education as the development of skills related to strength and stamina, the understanding of teamwork and sportsmanship and the knowledge of nutrition and the fundamentals of well-being.

At Heritage, to earn the physical education half credit, a student must either take a physical education class, be in a dance class or be a member of the marching band. However, students who play on a school’s sports team do not earn this credit. I think they should.

Student athletes are much more involved in physical activity than students who take a physical education class, dance or marching band. In addition, student athletes not only learn about sportsmanship and nutrition, but also use their knowledge on a daily basis.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in one hour of dance, a person weighing approximately 150 pounds burns 330 calories. In marching band, the same person burns 236 calories. These numbers are not even close to the amount of calories burned in some of the most common sports. Playing basketball for an hour can burn 440 calories, swimming for an hour burns 510 calories, playing soccer or football for an hour burns 520 calories and intensive running for an hour burns 704 calories.

With these numbers, it is evident that students who play sports are engaged in much more physical activity than those in physical education, dance or marching band. Student athletes also learn lessons about sportsmanship and nutrition taught in the physical education classes. No athlete would succeed without having the understanding of being a fair player and treating his or her body well. Whether it is saying “good game” to their competitors after a match or making sure their bodies are fully hydrated and replenished, athletes practice these understandings each time they step foot on the field or court.

Athletes who are actively involved in their school’s sports team should earn the physical education credit the state requires. It is only fair that athletes who play earn the credit.

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