The Philosophy of Physical Education

Physical education, or PE for short, is usually the class where students learn about various sports, about fitness and physical health, and in some places, the class where they get their sexual education as well. Basically, this course is meant to teach young people about their bodies and their limitations, they are encouraged to find their strengths and weaknesses, and where they develop multiple other skills. But is there a philosophy of physical education? Is there something more than just physical activity? A lot of people would argue in favor of this statement, and we know that even in ancient Greece there was a lot of emphasis on combining mental and physical health.

One of the most famous Latin sayings, wrongly attributed to the Greeks, is Mens sana in corpore sano, meaning something like “a healthy body in a healthy mind”. This quotation may come from a poem, but the philosophy behind it has been leading PE teachers and classes for generations now. When we ask whether some physical education philosophy exists, we’re also having in mind the fact that by now we have medical and scientific knowledge of the fact that an unhealthy body can affect the mind as well. Various hormonal imbalances can lead to mental imbalances, and practicing a sport or some physical activity can turn all that for the better.

Another way to look at a philosophy of physical education is by looking at the philosophers and seeing whether any of them had anything to say about physical activity. In Idealism for example, there was a strong emphasis on both mind and body, and they were believed to be strongly related. It is said that fitness activities and sports can help develop one’s personality, and this is true enough. As we were saying earlier, these activities allow you to test your endurance, to see whether you’re competitive or not, to see whether you’re willing to push yourself in order to accomplish more. The skills that we discover and that we develop with the help of physical education form and shape us indeed, and they can play a major role in our lives.

Theoretically, physical education philosophy is something that each school or teaching institution should develop individually. When a child enters the school they and their parents should be aware of the school’s policy over physical education and sports; the school themselves have to place a lot of importance on these classes as well, and give their students the opportunity to find out what they’re best at. Another thing that science has taught us is that every person has a different type of intelligence; some of us are more inclined towards creativity and art, others more towards sciences and mathematics, whereas others are simply good with their bodies and can control them well. Getting to find that out in the first years of education is very important, and it helps individuals decide a course in life, find a passion, and it might even steer them towards a career.