What Are Four Objectives of Physical Education?

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:50:05 PM ET

Four objectives of physical education are improved physical fitness, appreciation of physical activity, sportsmanship development and improved social skills. More objectives of physical education include body awareness, skill development and personality development.

Improved Physical Fitness

While there are many goals of physical education, improving one’s fitness is often at the top of the list. According to the U.S. government’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, physical activity can help prevent an early death and reduce the risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, falls and certain types of cancer. Children who are exposed to physical education tend to be more active, which helps set them up for a lifetime of good physical health. 

Appreciation of Physical Activity

Studies have shown that children tend to be more active if they are boys, if their parents are supportive and if they have confidence in their abilities. Physical education encourages an appreciation of physical activity in all children, even those who don’t fit into those categories. Quality education teaches young minds that physical activity is beneficial in many ways.  

Sportsmanship Development 

Physical education can help teach sportsmanship, teamwork and cooperation with other people. Those who participate in physical education learn to respect personal space as well as other people’s abilities. They also learn to work together to reach a common goal and how to follow rules for fair play with other people. 

Improved Social Skills

Not only does physical education teach students how to be good sports, but it can also lead to improved social skills. Interpersonal skills learned in a gym or on a field often translate into other aspects of life, improving social skills in the classroom, at work, within families, within communities and in other recreational settings. Students may learn how to negotiate better, they may communicate better, they may take leadership roles and they’ll have the ability to resolve conflicts in a fair manner. 

Body Awareness 

Physical education helps individuals become more aware of their own bodies, including their abilities and limitations. Students learn how certain activities impact others, such as stretching before running to prevent injury. They also learn that every body is different. Some people may be extremely flexible, while others simply run faster. Spatial awareness, body control and the ability to name certain body parts are also objectives of physical education. 

Skill Development 

Skill development is a major part of physical education, especially with younger students. This includes developing locomotor skills, like running, jumping, walking, skipping and leaping, as well as non-locomotor skills, like balancing, pushing, pulling, bending, stretching, twisting and turning. Other skills developed may include handling a ball or other physical objects and positioning and moving the body during particular activities, such as how to move the arms and legs while swimming certain strokes. 

Personality Development 

Physical education can help improve a student’s personality as well as their physical fitness. Participating in sports and physical activities can help improve traits like motivation and enthusiasm. It can improve confidence and self-esteem and even create higher levels of self-discipline. These personality changes typically improve performance in school, work and social settings.