Englands chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has called for “routine fitness tests” for secondary school children in an attempt to fight childhood obesity and inactivity levels. Click here for the story.
He is suggesting to put them through regular Bleep Tests to help get them more active. Now, doing the Bleep Test is certainly one way to get active. It is a widespread test to assess the fitness of large groups of people and best of all, it is very cheap! And I’m all in favour of getting people off their bums more and doing something physical.
But there is one other thing…doing the bleep test is bloody horrible! I hated it with a passion when I was in school, and I’ll do anything I can to avoid it now!
I know if my idiot of a PE teacher in school forced me to do regular Bleep Tests, I would have hated PE lessons even more than I did!
A major stumbling block I have found in getting people more active, is basic human psychology. If I force someone to do something they don’t like, they tend to naturally rebel against it and find ever more reasons to avoid it.
Young animals getting fitter & stronger by…playing!
And forcing kids to run back and forth like clockwork is unlikely to inspire them. I was very uninspired by being forced to do PE that I hated by a teacher who I thought was an idiot. I was just very lucky that I was coached Karate by the best coach I have ever known! (He was able to bring out the desire in me, so I would willingly go training 4 times a week).
I think the real answer can be found in most David Attenborough programmes. Any of the programmes that show young animals growing into healthy big animals show them
running around, playing with eachother and jumping/climbing over things.
This is perfect exercise for kids! It is just as physically demanding as any Bleep Test…with the added benefit that the kids will be begging you to let them do more of it!
Now if only this country and its schools were not getting rid of all its parks, playing fields, climbing frames etc. My opinion is that this will do far more at helping get kids more active, than more structured testing and league tables.
But that is just my opinion…what do you think?