‘Fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle’ is as important as scoring higher grades in academics as per ASPAM Indian International School. “Obesity and juvenile diabetes is on the rise across the globe, and ignoring physical fitness will not only impact the physical health of a child but will also have an impact on their academic performance. UAE today provides a lot of opportunities for students to explore and adopt a healthy lifestyle,” stated Poonam Heryani, the Head of Academics from ASPAM Indian International School, Sharjah.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries. If current trends continue, the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally will increase to 70 million by 2025.
Physical activity helps students to develop knowledge, motor and behavior skills apart from the assurance required to maintain a healthy lifestyle in future. When adults think about exercise or fitness, they imagine working out in the gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting heavy weights. However, for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have a physical education class, or a dance class or by playing any other sport.
“In addition to the academic goals, students should also set their fitness goals early in the year. Exercise should be an integral part of a child’s development. Regular exercise is recommended by physicians and psychologists as they play a vital role in combating depression and anxiety in the youth. The outcome of the routine exercises is reflected in physical improvements that complements and develops into a better physique,” added Poonam. Many studies have indicated that regular physical activity results in a subsequent release of endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ that lead to numerous physiological and psychological benefits – improved self-esteem, reduced stress, better sleep and a positive outlook, to name a few.
“Over the years we have seen remarkable improvement in the academic performance of students that have also focused on their fitness levels. We should try to build in a rich variety of curricular and co-curricular activities thus creating a variety of authentic contexts in which students can practice their positive attitudes and hone their skills. To be successful in the real world, students need more than academic skills and knowledge. We endeavor to provide a rich student experience that builds critical life skills along with other core activities,” added Poonam.
Emphasising on the importance of physical exercise for students, Poonam commented, “While academics are the focal point for the school, there is a large emphasis towards strengthening the student’s core skills and as growing adults, this empowers them in creating global awareness. Students are actively encouraged to participate in a wide array of different sports, school activities and leadership initiatives, both within the school as well as in the broader community.”