Health Care: Start With School Phys. Ed.

While exercise is universally accepted by the medical community as the best way to remain in good shape, political debates regarding national health care, and related insurance problems, always seem to avoid the topic. Since there is no disagreement exercise makes both the body and the mind function better, lawmakers should enact a National School Exercise & Health Act requiring all students K-12 to have some Phys. Ed. every day.

Americans have gained too many pounds and have now tipped the scales far in excess of what standard weight charts recommend. Our collective weight gain has created a huge culture of diabetics. Extra poundage raises total cholesterol, fats in the blood, and increases the risk of blood vessel disease and heart attack.

Americans gained weight, because they burn too few calories. They no longer exercise. Children walk much less, and are now chauffeured everywhere in cars. They sit at desks, not only at school, but at home, working on laptops. In their free time, they move to couches, to watch excessive amounts of TV. The culture has become lazy, and it needs a National School Exercise & Health Act.

Exercise improves blood circulation, breathing, digestion, and metabolism. It causes sweating and makes the body lose weight. It reduces fats, lowers triglycerides, and brings down blood sugar levels. It reduces bad cholesterol, while raising good cholesterol.

There are many simple inexpensive types of exercise Americans could engage to regain their health. Walking is perhaps the best example. Students should be required to walk at least 10 minutes a day. The more ambitious could engage in hiking or jogging. Simple stretching, twisting, and bending, could be done by students right at their desks, to clear their minds during 5-minute breaks. Biking is also a great idea. The people of the Netherlands never give up their bikes, and they have remained relatively healthy. Indoor courts could be used for basketball or volleyball.

If schools are not already requiring students to exercise, they need to be ordered to do so. We as a society need to get all Americans on the same page in this regard. Requiring children to exercise daily is an issue that should gain bipartisan support, since the cost of implementing it is low, and yet the rewards are very high.

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