Should physical education be mandatory?


Photo Credit: photo via Travis Air Force Base under creative commons license

Physical education might be useful in the younger years, but whether it should be required in high school is debatable.

Throughout the United States, middle and high school students believe that physical education should be spent taking classes that are more beneficial to their futures and makes a bigger impact on their lives.

Physical education classes started progressively growing throughout the world in the 1800’s. The purpose of physical education was to teach younger generations how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The majority of schools around the world started making gym class mandatory. Although many students and parents supported the idea of a little physical activity after working in a classroom all day, many were opposed. Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet is extremely important, but everyone has a unique body that reacts to everything differently. Physical education should be a class for those who enjoy playing sports, rather than making it mandatory for all students. 

Injuries and Insecurities

Physical education leads to many injuries. Although teachers watch their students throughout the class, they can’t control what they do. According to , more than 40,000 students are injured and taken to an emergency room each school year. Not only does physical education risk the chance of many injuries, but it makes students feel uncomfortable as well. When a student lacks in an area that someone else is very talented in, it can lead to jealousy and discomfort. It also gives students with athletic abilities an advantage over those who lack thereof. Physical education is also a disadvantage to the students with disabilities. According to, 14% of students enrolled in schools are mentally or physically disabled. Disabled students can feel like outcasts because they physically can’t participate. Making physical education a choice would decrease the chances of students becoming upset with themselves and others.

Before participating in class, it’s expected of the students to change into comfortable gym attire. As middle and high school students grow older, they find many insecurities within themselves. Changing in front of peers or complete strangers can be embarrassing and give them another reason to dislike physical education.


Not only does physical education lead to many injuries, but it also leaves students uninterested and less motivated to do well in their school year. Most people do better in the activities they enjoy. Grading physical education classes highly affects those who are uninterested. Whether students choose not to participate in a sport or don’t do as well as they should, it affects their grade. Grading someone on their athletic abilities is completely unfair, especially for those who only take physical education because it’s mandatory. 

Students in middle and high school are only beginning to explore their talents and interests. Some people are more talented in school, while others show more interests in sports. Schools limit the classes that students can take, due to the fact that physical education is already one of the few classes that they can take in a school year.

Giving the choice of taking physical education as a class would resolve so many issues and leave more students satisfied. At the end of the school year, students should feel like they took something away from each and every class. High school is a time for students to learn about themselves and have an idea of the career they want to pursue. Taking a classes that cover their interests will only impact their future decisions.