Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Effects of Early Morning Physical Activity on Elementary School Students' Physical Fitness and Sociality

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Effects of Early Morning Physical Activity on Elementary School Students' Physical Fitness and Sociality

Article excerpt

Introduction

Physical activity in childhood is closely associated with health. Physical activity refers to all movement of the body caused by the contraction of the skeletal muscles (World Health Organization, 2015) and plays a vital role in energy consumption. However, despite many positive effects provided by physical activity, there is an increasingly decline in physical activity opportunities for students in school (Brusseau, Tudor-Locke, & Kulinna, 2013). In addition, due to the characteristics of modern society and the way science and technology has increased individuals' sedentary lifestyle, opportunities for physical fitness have been reduced, which contributes to health problems such as obesity, chronic diseases (Mavrovouniotis, 2012). Recent research data shows that about one-third of adults are obese, which is associated with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and metabolic syndrome (i.e., "hypo-physical activity disease") (Flegal, Carroll, Ogden, & Curtin, 2010; Kohl & Cook, 2013). Since this phenomenon also occurs increasingly in younger age groups (Kann et al., 2015; NPAPA, 2016), it is necessary to recognize the importance of life-long physical activity and examine its effects during specific periods (Centers for Disease Control, 2011). Furthermore, 65-80% of adolescents who are obese will be obese as adults (Guo, Chumlea, & Roche, 2002; Wright, Parker, Lamont, & Craft, 2001). In addition, adolescent obesity is associated with depression, low self-esteem, helplessness, isolation from peer groups, and mental and psychosocial problems (Baker, Beckstead, Mangelsdorf, & Thummel, 2007). Therefore, additional physical activity opportunities are needed at school to improve the overall health and well-being of children (Dinkel, Lee, & Schaffer, 2016).

To develop sociality, it is essential that sociality education is intentionally and deliberately performed, including socializing children from their families to community and school peer groups (Kim, 1996). Jang (2010) suggested that in addition to improving students' physical fitness, physical activity can help social development to solve social problems such as the formation of good friendships and school maladjustment problems. Appropriate physical activity plays a positive role in developing sociality through sportsmanship, improved human relations, and stress relief. In addition, Lee & Kim (2003) reported that students participating in physical play or sports activities are healthy, physically strong, socially adaptable, and can cope with stress. However, opportunities for participating in specifically planned and organized physical activity programs are few (Brusseau et al., 2013).

Efforts should be preceded to increase the physical activity time spent by elementary school students to solve these problems. Recently, the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) was presented internationally to address the lack of physical activity among children (Brusseau & Hannon, 2015). The CSPAP includes five components: 1) quality physical education, 2) physical activity before and after school, 3) physical activity during school (both recess and classroom activity), 4) staff involvement, and 5) family and community engagement (CDC, 2013; NASPE, 2008). It is recommended that students get about 60 minutes of physical activity per day (U.S. Department of health and human services, 2008) since physical activity has a positive effect on students' knowledge, skills, and their confidence in being physically active throughout their lifetime (CDC, 2013).

Many countries recognize the importance of physical activity and are trying to solve health problems of children and adolescents through policies or projects using the CSPAP. The United States is reported to maintain health and prevent chronic illnesses in students through programs such as "Let's Move! Active Schools" program (CDC, 2015). …

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