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Gym Class Is So Bad, Kids Are Skipping School to Avoid It (theatlantic.com)
67 points by dorkwood 18 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 93 comments

I think the worst thing about gym is that I didn't learn anything there.

I didn't learn about calories, or healthy eating. I didn't learn about basic cardio, why it's good for you, or how often to do it. I didn't learn about how to build muscle, what reps or sets were.

Gym amounts to mindless busywork. Do stuff or you get an F. It could serve as a foundation of knowledge to set yourself up for healthy habits for the rest of your life. Instead, it has the opposite effect of training you to hate fitness.

That's because personal health & fitness is treated as a completely personal endevour in society, much like most of what we call "parenting," at least in most parts of the US. You could design the perfect curriculum based around teaching holistic personal health habits at specific age-appropriate levels, but the first time the fat kid goes home and says "hey maybe we shouldn't have mac N cheese or casserole for the 4th night this week" you get the fat parents making a fuss over their kid making them feel bad or just for questioning them at all.

"School" is a product that must be sold to the parents, the people "signing the checks" with their local tax money. It's kinda like enterprise software. The users are not the people making purchasing decisions, so you're always going to end up with a bad incentive structure for the quality of life of end-users (students) if the decision-makers aren't fully aligned with the users. How many fat parents are going to be on board with the school teaching their fat child a healthier lifestyle?

Right now, it appears that parents want a product that gives them the _feeling_ of caring about their child's long-term health habits, without them personally needing to make any changes to their lifestyle or parenting style.

It can go beyond just not learning anything, and into learning negative habits. For me "Gym" was the most dreaded part of my life as a young person, and was one of the few things in school I really hated. I was generally out of shape, and have some issues with my vision. Given that, all gym taught me was how to handle being belittled and insulted both by my school peers and by adults in authority roles, and I learned that I should avoid situations involving exercising and sports unless I wanted to be subjected to that. It's taken many years, and my need to deal with resulting health problems, for me to try to un-learn all that.

What really bothers me is that I actually enjoy weight lifting and a number of solo cardio exercises (rowing machine, exercise bikes, swimming laps). I knew this when I was young too. But with only a few-weeks-a-year exception, these were not a regular part of "gym". I feel like these kind of activities are far better to learn, as the can provide a life-long basis for regular exercise, and should be an all-the-time option. Combine that with the other health focused skills you mention, and you're going to have much better life-long outcomes then you will get by yelling at the fat kid who can't do a hand-stand.

It seems to be getting worse. At least it used to be "do something with physical activity." You might do half-assed basketball or running or something. Now, at least in the part of California I was formerly in, they were not able to require kids to actually do anything. Kid wants to stand around? Ok, go for it. Then you toss in required testing and metrics, and now gym (aka P.E.) has written tests on stuff. Not sure what stuff as I stopped paying attention.

I gained a deep, searing hatred of team sports due to a combination of forced participation and being a physically awkward teen in the middle of an epic growth spurt. Being graded on ones ability to complete a mile within a certain time constraint, as opposed to being graded on effort, is utter madness. The whole thing put me off physical activity for most of my adult life. Only in the last couple of years have I started exercising again, but on my own terms and for my own reasons.

There is a huge difference between "because you have to" and "because I want to".

> Being graded on ones ability to complete a mile within a certain time constraint, as opposed to being graded on effort, is utter madness

How is that different from being graded in other subjects in school? You don't get an A in calculus because you tried to answer the question, you get a grade based on how good you answer the question.

You don't get picked on by your teammates for getting a B or a C in calculus, usually (there are contexts where it happens, but it's much much rarer).

Calculus isn't a required course and as such has less of a pressure to "pass everyone". You don't get an A in pre-algebra either just for trying, but since everyone has to take it if you're trying then you're unlikely to get held back on that class even if most of your answers are wrong.

I'm fine with coaches grading on performance. It's a proxy for effort + talent like a lot of things, and as non-geniuses know effort extends outside the classroom proportional to your talent. If you can't even get a 20 minute mile, you're going to have to put in more effort outside the classroom, which might involve refusing to eat 100% of mom's delicious huge dinner or doing "exercise studies" (i.e. working out outside of class).

Whether gym class should be required is another discussion. I don't think it should be (and that easily filters out most people complaining about being graded for performance anyway) and it's a pretty poor attempt at managing rising obesity rates.

I was giving calculus just as an example, I was referring to a general subject in school where you have to study and do your homework in order to get good grades. I am pretty sure most of those who got low grades in gym classes did not bother to do any "homework" to make themselves prepared to the next class (e.g. practice catching the ball, do pull ups etc). It's the same with kids who had bad grades at subjects that required thinking, they did not bother to do their homework and were not really interested in reading, studying etc...You should look at the issue from both perspectives

There's the slight difference that calculus does not depend on your current hormonal situation, while sports does.

Growth spurts wreak havoc on coordination ability, and it's entirely beyond the person's control.

(We're not even talking about the fact that you don't get a grade based on how well you answer the question in calculus, either. You get graded on understanding, and steps involved, even if you get the wrong answer. Or at least you get graded that way in sane school systems)

> calculus does not depend on your current hormonal situation

What if your testosterone wants you to run, jump and play with your friends instead of sitting and reading calculus books?

This is a good part of the reason girls tend to do better in school than boys. I don't know if there's a great answer; if you don't find effective coping strategies then you will suffer.

I would think that the ultimate objective with physical education is to engender in kids a lifelong fitness habit. Given that once you leave school there really isn't much nowadays forcing people to get regular exercise, the only thing that really matters is that it's fun and rewarding.

I don't know why you'd grade kids at all on anything but their participation. Punishing a kid for being weak or poorly coordinated serves only to make them resent getting exercise.

Because there are some factors that are simply out of ones control that affect athletic ability. Should students also be graded on how much weight they can lift? How flexible they are? How far they can hit a softball? Is it fair to let that affect their GPA in districts such as mine where three years of PE (or a team sport) were a graduation requirement?

Back to the time constraint. Some teachers would FAIL students who were consistently unable to complete a mile in under 10 minutes. Effort was irrelevant. I wasn't a heavy kid, but routinely crossed the finish line bright red, gasping for breath, and light headed.

So yes, putting your student's future academic and career prospects in danger due to lower than "average" athletic ability is utter madness.

You typically don't get full marks in calculus for a correct answer with no working shown, and an incorrect answer due to a minor mistake where the working/method is correct generally gets a substantial portion of the marks.

The equivalent would be grading the running technique, pacing etc.

This concept also applies to most things in adult life living in modern society. Results matter. You don't get a Series-A-for-effort in business.

Yes, you do. Let me just say the word "Color". Well, except it's not effort, it's connections.

If you think about it - you had to do pretty well in social/communication “subject” to earn those connections. Just showing an effort to get connections without actually providing any value will lead you nowhere as well

Ok, you got me on the connections part. Not sure what you mean by "Color" though, I must be out of the loop.

Anecdotally, PE in US wasn't worse, compared to Japan. (Where I have been for first 6.75 of school.)

Grading in Japan was fairly black and white; whether you can do certain thing or not. It sucked even worse being thrown into some team sports with no briefing on rules.

At PE classes in US, where I spent most of middle and all the high school, I think the problem was more of how compatible I was with the teacher. Some graded very strictly on the outcome (which sucked), but some other graded on efforts (which was more reasonable) -- some had good balance while others were worse.

Problem of physical fitness is that there are quite a bit of genetic that plays huge role. You can only improve your athletic ability so much to meet some standard. Thus, unless you are training for the Olympics, it really should be graded based on how much you improve over time rather than whether you can reach certain goal that may be unrealistic to some.

> it really should be graded based on how much you improve over time rather than whether you can reach certain goal

Agreed. After my first year of regular P.E. I signed up for a class focused entirely on strength and fitness. No team sports. Two days on the track, three days in the weight room. Physically it was a far more demanding class, but it was taught by a far more reasonable teacher. Despite being among the slowest when it came to running the mile, I still received an A for showing effort and improvement.

>it really should be graded based on how much you improve over time

This is really just grading on how much courage you have to sandbag in the first lesson.

Maybe that's fine. Still better than forcing students to go for practically unattainable standard. But then, maybe it's just as good as grading them based on efforts...

It's been 25+ years since Ive been subjected to PE and I dont remember it being graded on ability, but more on participation and effort. It was really hard to not get an A. You basically had to refuse to even attempt the day's activity to fail.

I have a lot of complaints about the rural Michigan school I went to, but we learned all those things in middle school PE.

I went to school in the north bay area, slightly rural. PE taught all of those things, the teachers were great at teaching proper form in weightlifting, the mile "times" required were easy for anyone who didn't walk. I really am not understanding why every comment but yours seems to think PE is possibly the worst experience of their entire education.

Yeah, same here in WI.

Same in rural (or “exurban,” really, especially by the time I finished high school in 2005) Minnesota.

In my high school, gym was a practical course. We could even elect to be on a team, practice a real sport and not be in the “general” fitness class.

We also had a theoretical “health” course where you learn about healthy eating, calories, etc.

But in all honesty there is a disconnect between the theoretical and practical, no continuity whatsoever between the curriculums. Not like my teenage self would have listened anyway...

I dunno I wasn't a big fan of gym but in high school I remember learning the rules to most of the major(and weird obscure) sports played here, how to stretch, how to use weight lifting equipment, how to dance and general stuff about fitness. There wasn't really any testing though. You pretty much passed as long as you showed up and participated.

I fucking hated the mile and half run though....

I liked gym when it was an every day sort of thing, and we only did the mile run once a week (though you were docked points if you walked and didn't sprint for the final section). Then came 9th grade at a different school that was already doing A/B days (to match high school -- for me 7-9 was Jr High) and we did a mile run every class -- except unlike my 7th/8th grade counterparts the coach didn't care if you walked most of it. It was also funny that at this school no one wanted to shower after, I wondered if that's because they weren't basically forced to in 7th/8th grade like I was at the other school and so never learned to get over any embarrassment.

Anyway I rather liked gym class before 9th grade, mindless as it was, after that I took one of your hybrid health education + mild exercise courses (mile run every month? could walk the whole thing if you wanted) in 10th grade that did nothing for either (lol food pyramid -- a subject also repeated during a cooking class and a general health sciences class) and fulfilled my final PE requirement with an online bowling class during my final term that required (with no verification) about 10 games and scores to be submitted with the testing which I did in one or two sessions.

It always irked me that in gym you were asked to do things without any instruction. Kick this ball, get a grade.

But then it occurred to me that is how most kids felt with maths. Ie. Mindless busywork to set you up for a lifetime hating it.

Exactly. It's called Physical Education most often, but there's very little eduction involved. There could be, and that would have made it more accessible for me--I'm thinking weight lifting and mobility paired with kinesiology and anatomy--what a fantastic class that would be. Instead it was half-assed team sports, punctuated with the occasional fitness test, which we were never prepped for. Oh, you want to test how many pull-ups I can do now? Because this is the first time I'm doing pull-ups this year ...

"These 2 weeks we're doing volleyball"

"I don't wanna play volleyball, can I get some guys and we'll play floor hockey instead?"


Well, fuck gym I guess.

And most likely they didn't even teach you the rules.

We played football, not to an insane degree, but I always found it weird that they assumed everyone knew the rules.

Personally I don't think gym and music should exist at part of the school day, at least not in larger cities. Instead it should be required that everyone takes lessons in at least one instrument, and practice at least one organised sport after school. Then children are free to pick something they care about. Any fees should be paid by the city or government.

This would be nice in theory, but most organized sports are seasonal with the majority occurring over the summer break. They'd need to subsidize for year long programs, and that doesn't seem financially feasible.

Also, certain sports cost more than others, so certain families getting more money because their child picked a more expensive sport doesn't seem fair.

I grew up in Australia where it was assumed that everyone automatically knew the rules to every sport. I fumbled my way through cricket and soccer for years. I tried finding books in the library that would teach me the rules, but couldn’t. Still don’t know how to play either of them.

"These two weeks we're doing trigonometry"

"I don't wanna learn trig, can I get some guys and we'll do algebra instead?"


...et cetra

Except the goal of gym is to get kids active.

And one of the methods to do that is to expose kids to a variety of sports so that they'll hopefully find one they like. You might not like volleyball but for someone else in the class that forced participation might be the start of a lifelong love of it.

Also, I'm glad I learned the basics of tennis, soccer, baseball, flag football, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, archery, and so much more in school. I don't play any of them frequently, but when they do come up (like as a social activity at a company offsite, or a leisure activity when vacationing with friends), it's nice to be able to actually do them.

Badminton is fun.

2 weeks of badminton. 2 weeks of hockey. 10 weeks of boring shit I have no interest in and don't participate except to avoid an F.

And thus the reason I even enjoyed badminton. I thought it was dumb and I'd hate it. Turns out it was fun. Probably haven't played it since high school though... All well. Maybe when I have kids, lol!

My middle school class had so many menaces that the gym teacher normally just let us play what we wanted as long as everyone who wanted to play could.

This normally devolved into some quantity of boys playing basketball and most of the girls reading on the side.

You did learn - or, you could have. You learned how to run, how to endure being sweaty and hot, how to jump, etc. Many athletic abilities are learned. You can tell someone with a modicum of physical training from a novice easily - even decades after any learning.

I learned how to handle being belittled and insulted both by my school peers and by adults in authority roles, and learned that I should avoid situations involving exercising and sports unless I wanted to be subjected to that. It's taken many years, and my need to deal with resulting health problems, for me to try to un-learn these "athletic abilities."

Just because "gym" could provide valuable life skills, does not mean it does in the form it currently takes in many schools.

Before I moved to France I hated P.E. classes. But I think they did something right here. The year is divided into three sports that you do for three months each. There is always an individual sport (track, swimming) a team sport (rugby, handball) and a one on one (e.g.: badminton). Emphasis is on knowledge of oneself, for example for track you have to predict your time for 3x500m run and you get 1/3 of points this way. If you predict too low or high, you will lose on grade. This means that you actually have to get to know your limits.

The only issue I had was for team sports where the individual differences are just way too high to construct a game interesting for everybody.

Yeah, I didn't particularly care for PE as a French kid growing up, but in hindsight I can play pretty much any common sport decently because of it. One unexpected side effect is that it makes socializing quite easy - I can accept when someone invites me to play tennis, volleyball, etc. because I have some basic grasp of the sport from school.

In fact, when I moved to California, I saw that everyone was really into climbing, and started doing it too because I had done it in school, even though I had never been into it at the time.

I went to a private school in the US that had a similar setup. For each 3 month season, everyone was required to either join an interscholastic team or participate in an intramural sport with daily practice. Aside from certain high-popularity sports like basketball and lacrosse, pretty much everyone got to play whatever sport they wanted to. If you didn't like team sports you could join the running/weight lifting individual fitness group. The fact we had some agency in how we structured our excercise made athletics way more enjoyable minimized the bullying and unhelpful busywork inherrent in traditional P.E.

I'm convinced that gym class results in millions of lost disability-adjusted life years for every generation. Kids are either naturally athletic, in which case they'll exercise whether you want them to or not, or they are naturally nonathletic, in which case gym class just teaches them that exercise is the officially sanctioned method adults use to bully kids. It took me about ten years to figure out that exercise could be enjoyable when it's not forced on you by the psychopaths who end up as gym teachers. Gym class should be banned, or if that's politically impossible, the job should be assigned by sortition like jury duty. Nobody who wants to be a gym teacher should be allowed to do it.

If it were more about physical education (literally) and had less emphasis on actually doing intense exercises I think it would be a lot more beneficial. Leave the crazy intense physical activities to extracurriculars. No personal trainer would create a one-size-fits-all training routine, but for some young students that's literally the entirety of what "gym class" entails.

By Physical Education, I mean learn about basic health issues, commons diseases and symptoms to look out for, learn the importance of diet and exercise, standard first aid, that kind of thing.

Even the physical activity isn't bad - but it's completely unfocused. One week you're running laps, the next you're playing random ball games. You learn a little about stuff in the weight room, but not enough where you can run a good routine after the fact.

At no point is there any option of "hey, let's tailor a fitness goal and plan for you to stick to for the majority of your life". But then again, the goal of schools isn't to maximize pleb fitness, right?

I'm pretty sure the purpose of the modern gym curriculum is to create more meat for the college-football grinder.

No. Athletes aren’t discovered in gym class, they are recruited to play in middle school. Unless you transferred in from some other school, the coaches already know who you are and what position they want you to play.

[edit] and to clarify, I’m talking about high school coaches, not college.

Modern P.E. (and many sports) goes back to at least antiquity where the need for militarization in society was greater. Military training has set the standard for exercise and sports because it provided an established system of collective activities and clear outcomes to promote strength, discipline and collaboration. Qualities that any military force needs.

> Modern P.E. (and many sports) goes back to at least antiquity where the need for militarization in society was greater.

Honestly, even without the need, it would probably be better if modern PE was structured with the intent of preparing students as much as individually practical for participation in the universal militia, even if we know to a relative high degree of certaintt that those who don't volunteer are unlikely to be called to serve, with a curriculum cooperatively designed by experts in child physical development, child intellectual and social development, and modern military operations and civil emergency operations.

As it is, it seems to be an unfocussed and poorly directed afterthought that remains around because eliminating it would offend people, but without a strong purpose or any concern from policy makers except firefighting reacting to problems that emerge as the unmaintained structure clashes with evolving social values.

When I was at school you were sneered at by teachers for anything less than upper average performance - imagine that happening in maths or English classes.

It took me years to recover, I never did any more structured exercise until I was in my late 30's, now I love it.

Ahhh - bad memories of humiliation and bullying. Took me 2 decades to realise I can actually love sport, sad to see that happening to the current generation.

Yep. I’m 57 and I still hate all forms of exercise thanks to my experience in gym class.

People don't like to be in situations where they are stack-ranked according to a skill they are bad at.

Stereotypical jocks lose when you stack-rank them in a random math class, so the second they can drop maths they do. And before that, they might wag it.

Stereotypical nerds lose when you stack-rank them in a random p.e. class, so the second they can drop p.e. they do. And before that, they might wag it.

When you force people in the bottom end of skill distribution into a stack rank system, it does real damage to their self esteem. And this will essentially traumatize them from actually achieving growth in the subject. And that growth is actually important. Stereotypical jocks are much better off for not being afraid of maths. Stereotypical nerds are much better off for not being afraid of exercise.

One solution is pretty simple. Isolate the top, say, 10-20% of performers in each skill, and stack-rank away if you want. They'll have enough self esteem with respect to the skill to be motivated by the open competition. But most of all, just isolate them from the rest.

With the rest, you'll probably have more luck with a growth mindset type philosophy. Do whatever you can to take focus away from absolute performance metrics, and get them to focus on their own growth. And keep them the hell away from that top 10-20%.

Ideally, you follow this principle through all the way through the skill distribution and organize classes into quintiles of ability.

Just remember, if you're going to rank people, then isolate them from people they can't compete with.

It takes a very unusual kid/teenager to come away motivated by the experience of being totally dominated in some area.

It seems to be terrible in both Australia and the USA, over a long period.

My son's Judo instructors had much more fond memories of European style instruction, which sounded considerably more demanding, but more structured and educational. Part of the problem to my way of thinking was that PE class, by high school, has just become a way of glorifying those who already have physical prowess at the expense of everyone else.

This is not helped by the fact that most PE teachers, in my experience, were the most avid disciplinarians and the least intelligent teachers of anyone I encountered.

It's a pity. It could be done way better. They would have to start earlier, set higher standards for the kids (while practicing positivity and focusing on how much they can improve everyone), and VASTLY increase the quality of the teachers. It also wouldn't hurt to reemphasize the offering of a wide variety of sports for everyone (rather than focusing all resources on a few chosen teams, or, like most schools I know about in Australia now, just not really having sport anymore).

Am I wrong in thinking that technology amplifies how we gauge the energy required for physical activity? With just a few moves of my finger I can watch a video, read a paper, talk to people, etc. Contrast that with running, lifting, etc. The effort required for the comparatively minute results we achieve seem dramatic across this contrast. I wonder if having computers with an internet connection in their pocket at all times is making kids lazy... which may be an additional factor in this reported situation.

That's sad. In my high school days (2000s) gym class was just as bad. I skipped it every time, flunked it, and took a health night class to make it up. I liked going to school at night and health class was awesome so it was worth it :)

The worst part of gym class was the bullying. The aggressors usually got energized through gym class and started messing with other students right after. Gym classes were pretty big and we often had "do what you want" days so idle/bored bullies went into action some more.

I was fortunate that my highschool offered a choice between PE and weightlifting classes.

PE has clearly always been for suckers, I remember seeing kids playing volleyball or soccer or running 3 times a week in the hot sun with no sunscreen, half of them not really even giving a fuck, and thinking how I had NO desire to be a part of that mess.

Weightlifting by contrast, was not only an easier class but also much more educational. It was like going to the gym and having a personal trainer plan your workout and give you advice. The coaches wrote up an exercise plan on the whiteboard and you just went and did it on your own, occasionally they walked around making sure people weren't goofing off.

If you wanted to slack off it was easy to just do light weights and go through the motions but most people actually did put in effort to see physical change in their bodies (and of course there's always peer pressure to be strong and fit, especially with girls watching). And because weightlifting has natural downtime in between reps you could socialize freely.

The stuff I learned in that class helped me to not be clueless when I went to an actual gym by myself. In fact, I've been going to the gym regularly ever since that class ended.

I don't understand all of these complaints. Is the solution to difficult coursework to do away with lessons? Why are physical challenges treated so differently from mental difficulties? Sure, not everyone is athletic, but the fact that not everyone is studious and intelligent is not a reason to avoid encouraging people to be so by sending them to school.

I think what we really need is a serious, rigid, disciplined curriculum in PE. That probably doesn't involve team sports so much as learning to exercise for fitness and self improvement, totally different from the half-assed gym classes that we have in the US now.

Bullying is a symptom of other problems and is not an argument against good physical education. Perhaps if ours hadn't turned into such a sensitive, coddling culture, we wouldn't have a 40% obesity rate[1].


In lieu of gym class, my school required us to participate in a club sport or school team every season. We actually got much more exercise having gym every few days, and the fact that we got to choose what sport to play made it something we could get personally invested in, even people who were not naturally athletic.

I hated gym class the most out of all the classes in school. It felt like torture. But then again, I have asthma and nobody had explained to me back then what asthma meant for gym class.

Outside of that, I have to agree that gym class didn't really teach me anything.

A counter opinion:

I wasn't that great. But I found out that, if I got open in the end zone, they'd throw me the ball, and I could catch it. This led to me going out for the football team.

I wasn't that great there, either. I was like fifth or sixth on the depth chart. But it led to a lifetime of being in fairly decent shape.

(Note well: Gym class itself did not lead to a lifetime of being in fairly decent shape. But the exposure to various sports, and finding one that I liked and did all right at, was still a big deal. Also note that this was in the 1970s; things may well be worse now.)

I have to say Gym for my 14 year old has turned from one of her favorite classes to one of the worst.

It seems like a pretty rigid curriculum that's centered around various easy to quantify things (like time to run a mile) and not anything to do with being healthy, exercising, or having fun.

So they keep them on the asphalt for an hour when it's 110F. They teach them dancing and changing partners every 30 seconds during flu season. They have then run through muddy grass when it's raining. More like a boot camp than anything fun/healthy.

> run through muddy grass when it's raining

Will the horrors never end?

Try spending 8 hours working productively with cold soaking wet feet the squish when you walk.

I loved gym class. It was easy and a relief. Some of the sports I really enjoyed, like floor hockey and soccer. There were some lame ones too, and also some creepy behavior from the male gym teachers toward certain female students. But other than that it was the easiest part of the school day. I could turn off my brain and work up a sweat.

My son did crew to avoid gym class. Turns out he really liked it, but the motivation was a hatred of gym class.

I didn't want to have PE at 7am and be sweaty and stinky for the next 5 hours. On sport teams we showered but that's the people wanted to be there.

> why this particular P.E. program was counterproductive... points to bullying... it facilitates the teasing of overweight or unathletic kids.

Making PE more strict on _everyone_ because of the _few_ promotes the exact opposite of the desired result. It's fallacious to believe the obese are that way because they are bullied. We divert dumb kids, yes? Why is it insensitive for the obese? Mixing these groups destroys morale. Varsity kids workout together, junior-varsity work out together, etc, because it works.

The administration babysits warm bodies for cash. The PE teachers will end up taking the blame for giving kids their recess back.

We had an odd thing in elementary school gym class - parachutes! We sat around a parachute on the floor, and the teacher would play a record (it was the 80s) that would tell us when to raise/lower our arms then swap places by running under it when it was above us.

I think this was really common in the 80s/90s in the US.

It's the same problem everything suffers from: meeting targets rather than doing a good job.

They need to have less competitive sports where everyone focuses on themselves. Team sports like football and softball causes lots of bullying of weaker and non-athletic kids because everyone else is drive to make their team win.

Kind of funny how so many people here (myself included) hated gym class because of being bullied or being physically awkward. I wonder if this is a widespread issue or if it's just that hackernews is full of nerds.

During gym we did running, sit-ups, volleyball and kickball. Wish we done weights instead. no one on YouTube is making money with jogging and sit-up videos. it's all weight lifting.

My two most excruciating memories of physical unpleasantness: having strep throat, and cooling down after “the mile” in middle school gym class.

Gym class taught me that a healthy lifestyle is about extreme discipline and regular self-torture. It took me a decade to discover that you could ramp up into exercise in a way that didn’t make you want to die, and to make sense of the way other people talked about having any kind of positive experiences with it.

Gym was awful. The teachers were awful, the bullies were awful, we learned absolutely nothing and felt like they were just trying to make us expend energy. What time would’ve better been spent in a class talking about cooking and nutrition, and how to prepare healthy meals

The comments here are really confusing me. I went to a New England public school. Gym was mostly a fun team sport game that rotated every month or so. I was very athletic. Most of my friends were the opposite. I believe we all had a good time regardless.

things i remember from gym class in middle school/high school:

* gym class was every single day, 5th grade until 12th grade.

* mile run every Friday (I hated it, but it did help me get to sub-7 mins by high school, for someone who was never athletic)

* heart-rate monitors we wore that strapped across our chests. every day we had to get our monitor and apply this gross conductive gel to the device and strap it around our bare skin at chest level. you got credit for the gym period if you got >15mins of HR above 120.

* Badminton!

* Those scooters with wheels on them.

* Step-aerobics. Holy cow. Exercising with plastic stools.

* A locker room with showers, which showers I have never seen anyone use once.

* line dancing for some reason?

The problem with gym class lesson plans is they gradually become "laminated" so all you have to do is wipe them with a paper towel when you spill your coffee on them.

My high school removed dodgeballs and gave us these foam bullshit things that didn't even work.

So that was the end of PE, at least for me...

My school district required gym for everyone from jr high through high school. Did I enjoy it? No. Has it been useful for the rest of my life? Absolutely. If it weren’t for those PE classes, I wouldn’t feel comfortable at the gym with free weights, and wouldn’t know how fast I can be at running. It changed my life despite being my least favorite class. I’d recommend daily gym be required for my children.

Three words:




Haa...I remember those days. Actually, I saw some kids playing pond hockey yesterday who were playing shirts vs skins in the 40 degree (f) temperatures.

Two things predict success, which correlates to health and happiness, in life well, IQ and Conscientiousness.

Schools can't teach IQ.

Does gym teach conscientiousness? I don't know, but for smart kids academic high school classes certainly don't. School should not be easy for anyone including smart kids, it needs to challenge.

“These adolescents were not enjoying the daily P.E. requirements and would’ve rather skipped school,”

Swap that with work and you get life. At what stage do you teach children to be adults?

Ah, the days when the US had Government-ordered fat shaming.[1]

"Give that chicken fat back to the chicken and don't be chicken again."

"Nuts to the flabby guys."

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFofqe26t-4


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