You say Phys Ed, I say Phy Ed, let’s not call the whole thing off

In middle and high school I kind of hated phy ed. It all seemed so awkward. I mean, you come from class and change into awkward looking uniforms like this.

by Duke Yearlook, Duke University Archives

Okay, they weren’t quite that bad.  And then you stand around staring at your feet for awhile. Then you (if you are me) drag your 5 foot (on a good day with shoes) self out to the basketball court and kind of hope that no one throws you the ball or really expects you to make a basket. Twenty minutes or so later you head back to the locker room and face another awkward decision. Do you shower, or do you spend the rest of the day sweaty in order to preserve what’s left of the bangs that you had meticulously teased and sprayed that morning?  Now, to be fair, there were some great days in PE.  Archery was cool, badminton was fun, and the bowling unit was like getting a short field trip each day.  But, still, it was hard not to feel like PE was somehow a waste of time.  This, despite the fact that I was a kid that actually really liked being active and was part of various sports teams growing up.

Fast forward 20 years or so. That high school kid who wished she could get out of phy ed, is now a pediatrician who is a vigorous supporter of physical education for all children at all levels of education. Why the change? Well, the reasons are part anecdotal, and part data driven. Continue reading