What is Physical Education?

Physical Education is an education which brings improvement in human performance with the help of physical activities. Physical activities range from simple walking to jogging, running, sprinting, hopping, jumping, climbing, throwing, pushing, pulling, kicking, etc. Education without physical activities is like body without soul. There is no controversy in giving due place to physical education and different forms of exercises in the total set-up of education. All teachings in human education begin with physical education. Physical education is also considered as movement education as the life begins from movement only. In general life is characterised by movement. The movement starts from the birth of a child, till the end of life.

Mental, intellectual, emotional and social development of a growing child is dependent and closely related to physical development. A physically fit individual possesses a wellbalanced personality which is, mentally sharp, emotionally stable and socially well-adjusted.

Physical education teaches how to acquire ability to develop strength, speed, endurance and coordination abilities. It also emphasises on achieving social qualities, such as, empathy, cooperation, friendliness, team spirit, and respect for rules, which are essential for healthy social relations with others. In this era of technological advancement, physical education and sports are considered essential for health, fitness, wellness, vigour and strength.

The concept of physical education is not new. The fact is that it has its roots in the ancient period. At various stages in history, different people have associated different meanings to the word ‘Physical Education’. Physical Education in simple words is understood as learning with the help of movements of body and realising the benefits at mental level. It simply means education through the use of physique and physical movements and deriving the advantage for social gain. Some of the definitions given by well known authors are given here to understand and for the ready reference of the students.

The National plan of physical education (1956) states that, “Physical education should aim at making the child physically, mentally and emotionally fit and developing personal and social qualities which will help to live happily with others and build a good citizen”. It further emphasises that the development of the total personality and achievement of worthy citizenship motivated for service should be the outcomes of physical education.

According to the Ministry of Education and National Planning for Physical Education and Recreation, “The aim of physical education must be to make every child physically, mentally and emotionally fit and also to develop in him personal and social qualities that will help to live happily with others. Physical education programme should also aim to build good citizens of the country.”

According to the Central Advisory Board of Physical Education and Recreation, “Physical education is the process of education through physical activities. It is the development of the total personality of the child to its fullness and perfection in body, mind and spirit.”

Sports and physical education are an integral part of the learning process, and need to be included in the evaluation of performance. A nation-wide infrastructure for physical education, sports and games are required in the educational field. The infrastructure consists of playfields, equipments, coaches and teachers of physical education. Available open spaces in urban areas can be used for playgrounds. Efforts should be made to establish sports institutions and hostels where specialised attention can be given to sports activities and sports-related studies, along with normal education. Appropriate encouragement should be given to those who have talent in sports and games. Due focus should be given on indigenous traditional games.

Charles A. Bucher has defined Physical Education as an “Integral part of total educational process, is a field of endeavour which has its aim — the development of physically, mentally, emotionally and socially fit citizens through the medium of physical activities which have been selected with a view to realise these outcomes.”

According to American Alliance for health, physical education, recreation and dance, “Physical Education is education through physical activities which are selected and carried as with regard to value in human growth, development and behaviour”.

Finally, it can be concluded that the development of all personality traits like, physical, social, mental, emotional, and moral takes place through various programmes of physical education.

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