TODAY -

Healthy and active lifestyle : A healthier Manipur ?

Jenson Rajkumar *

 11th Mega Marathon Manipur 2017 (Run for Your Nation) at  Khuman Lampak, Imphal  :: 24th September 2017
11th Mega Marathon Manipur 2017 at Khuman Lampak, Imphal in September 2017 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



Physical activity is any bodily movement, low or high intensity, that involves the expenditure of energy. Sports is another formof physical activity, but with certain rules and regulations.

What about Physical Education (PE)? Iíve always assumed that PE corresponds to what we did in school, a variation of jumping jacks shouting 1-2-3 till 8 and then all the way back to 1.

Growing up, sports and physical activities were staples in my daily life. I was around 6-7 years old when my dad took me out to our local playground (DM College Ground aka NCC Ground).

From that evening onwards, Iíve never looked back. Every afternoon, after school and post my mid-day meal or chara-wanba, Iíll head straight towards the lampak and play either cricket, football, kela or whatever the local elders were playing.

Things were a bit different in school though. We had a Games class once a week and all sorts of outdoor activities were cramped in that 45-60 mins per week.

We did play Swaa during the break but that stopped when we reached the 7th or 8th class. And even the Games class was not the same by that time, as it became a once a month occurrence rather than the weekly thing.

When I went to Chennai during my High School years (11th and 12th classes), I felt a bit of difference.

I was regularly partaking in various sports (football, basketball, volleyball and athletics) and there were plenty of opportunities for me to represent my school (SBOA School and Junior College). There were various sports and PE coordinators at the school, but I feel like itís only certain number of schools that does this on a consistent basis.

It then became a whole new world and an eye opener for me when I arrived in London around 4 years ago. As a student, I started volunteering in various community sports activities, both competitive and recreational.

Moreover, I learnt the following:

o PE is a structured form of physical activity delivered in an age-appropriate manner
o It is not the same as sports and schools deliver PE based on the National UK PE Curriculum
o It is not a necessity to include mainstream sports in PE sessions
o We also do not have to have a massive playing area to deliver a proper PE session. All we need is a safe space just the size of a basketball court

That answered my question from the first paragraph.

The more I came to know about the PE in UK schools and the amount of emphasis that schools and communities give to the physical literacy of children, the more I wonder aboutthe bridgein gap that we (in India) have between competitive sports, PE in schools as well as recreational sports.

The benefits not only are limited to the increase in physical health and adopting a healthy lifestyle, but it also impacts the psychosocial or mental health leading to positive impacts in the classroom behaviour and academic performance.

During my assessment across various Primary Schools in London and Nottingham, regular sports and activities positively impacted in physical health as well as socio-emotional skills such as confidence, self-esteem, teamwork, leadership skills, decision making and emotion control.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that children should partake in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to high intensity physical activity per week.

We do have a PE curriculum. Yes. But do we make sure that all school children get the required amount of physical activity on a regular basis?

One study conducted at schools across 4 Districts in Manipur point towards the fact that the rate of obesity and the number of physically inactive school children is increasing at an alarming rate.

Another research from 2018, which studied the physical activity levels of around 1000 Class 7 and 8 students across 6 schools in Imphal-West and Kangpokpi Districts, showed that only 29% of the participants were partaking in any form physical activity during and outside school.

The lack of which can lead to non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular problems and diabetes from being obese or overweight.

With emphasis really high on the need to excel in the ultra-competitive world of academics and the dependency on private tuitions at an all-time high, children do not have the time to engage in physical activities outside of school.

Regular and quality deliveries of PE during school hours will not only improve the physical health of children, it can also have a positive impact in their classroom as well as daily lives if right intervention methods are utilised.

What this can lead do, is the adoption of a healthy and active lifestyle for children and adults alike.

A healthier future and a healthier Manipur beckon. Or will our youths be given opportunities?


* Jenson Rajkumar wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at jensonrk(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This was posted on 20th August 2019

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