More to health than physical well being

Courses should focus on mental wellness and nutrition, too.

Casey Anderson, Opinion Editor

Tribune News Service

Physical education in schools must teach more than just standards of physical wellness, but mental wellness, too. I find a lot of students dread gym courses, especially in grade school. I think this is because gym courses are constructed to achieve a standard of endurance or physicality that can be stressful or difficult for many to achieve.

The problem is, without mental wellness and motivation, achieving physical wellness is extremely difficult. 

My stress management class this semester is truly opening my eyes to the importance of holistic wellness. In our Western society, when you are not feeling well, it is assumed that it whatever you are experiencing, it is a physical diagnosis. The typical protocol is to go to the doctor, be diagnosed, and then medicated.

But not all health problems can be fixed in this routine way. A pill will not fix your fatigue, chronic body aches, or inability to wake up on time or get out of bed. 

Physical education tends to teach that a healthy physical state means a healthy mental state and healthy life. But our physical education courses often overlook the need to include the teachings of nutrition, sleep, stress management techniques, breathing exercises, stretching, yoga, mental relaxation techniques. Physical education courses should not only teach us to take mental inventory on the state of our physical body, but to mostly pay attention to how we are feeling, our energy levels, and the quality of our mental state.

A lot of the unwellness students are experiencing can be improved by changing diet, stress management techniques, and mental perspective and processes.

Students need to learn how to handle their mental wellness as well as their physical wellness, because they go hand in hand when it comes to overall wellness and happiness.