PE requirements should not be extended

PE requirements should not be extended

Akshay Agrawal

Current PE requirements foster healthy habits without infringing upon students’ liberty


Two years of PE are enough—contrary to what some seem to believe, a lack of government-forced exercise will not turn MVHS into a breeding ground for the mentally and physically unfit.

The current PE requirements, namely two years of PE classes or a single year complemented by participation in sports, promote the health of PE-enrolled students while simultaneously imparting upon them the discipline and knowledge necessary to maintain their health in the future. Any attempt to increase the number of PE credits needed to graduate would not only be unnecessary, but would undermine the reputation of MVHS as an institution that caters to the talents and individual affinities of its student body.

By requiring students to engage in physical activity for two years, MVHS ensures that students remain fit while enrolled in a PE class—all those laps around the track inject much needed vigor into students’ bodies. Some may worry, however, that students who have completed their PE credits will experience drastic lapses in their health. Those with such concerns ought to place more faith in the ability of PE classes to promote student health through their preparatory and educational values.

PE classes help students achieve healthy lifestyles by subjecting them to vigorous activities, both physical and educational. Forcing students to obtain additional PE credits would not only undermine the efficacy of PE classes but would also rob students of the time to pursue their passions. Photo by Edward Wang.The PE courses offered do a fine job of stressing the education component of physical education. Teachers drive home to students the fundamentals such as the anatomy of muscles, the indications of a healthy body, and the benefits of planned workouts. Thanks to the communication of such educational information and the physical discipline instilled within students by rigorous daily exercise, the current PE system succeeds in maintaining and safeguarding students’ health; that is, as long as the student capitalizes upon the insight he receives in his PE classes.

Extending the PE requirements would be detrimental to students as well as redundant. If students were required to tack on an extra PE class to their schedules, they would potentially have to sacrifice something of more import to them, whether it be the opportunity to explore academic interests or simply the desire to take a light academic load. Students ought to be afforded the chance to determine their own schedules, to nurture their natural talents and bolster the skills that they wish to improve.

Even the athletically inclined may not want to participate in PE or a school-sponsored sport for four years. Perhaps the athlete’s passion lies with gymnastics or cricket. If PE or school sports were mandatory all four years of high school, the athlete would be left with less time to pursue his dream sport and would thus be forced to squander his true potential. Or, perhaps a student simply enjoys participating in recreational sports. Those playing ball on the blacktop or participating in intramural sports receive plenty of exercise as it is.

If a student wants to take additional years of PE, more power to him. As for the rest, trust that MVHS prepares them sufficiently and offers them enough opportunities to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, without the awkward training wheels of a required class.