Most states require that students in elementary schools complete a certain number of physical education hours each week because of its relevance to the development of health and wellness. Children develop many lifelong habits during their elementary years, and physical education provides an understanding of the importance of exercise and the basics of participating in individual and group activities. These experiences contribute to the building of an active lifestyle.
Physical education instruction correlates with the total person concept, which indicates that a person's mind, body and spirit all contribute to overall health and quality of life. Physical activity helps to build self-confidence. It also contributes to cognitive stimulation, which helps a student maintain the stamina and attentiveness to optimize learning in the classroom.
Physical education also has a direct impact on skill development. At the elementary level, physical activities aid in the development of motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Students may also see increased strength, flexibility, agility and endurance. These physical abilities help students perform well in athletic competitions as they get older. In typical elementary physical education classes, students play team sports, such as basketball and soccer. In addition to developing technical skills relevant to each sport, they gain experience in team play and sportsmanship.