Talking Points: Should students be forced to do more physical exercise in school?

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Charlotte Ames-Ettridge |

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Students from CMA Secondary School during their annual cross-country run.

Nina Cheung Ning, 15, Po Leung Kuk Lee Shing Pik College

Yes. Studies have found that shows that children who exercise regularly can achieve better results in maths and reading tests. People may think running around is a waste of valuable studying time, but it’s actually better for your body AND your brain than sitting hunched over a book.

Tiffany Lee Yui-yin, 16, Precious Blood Secondary School

No, because forcing students to do more exercise won’t instil an interest in it in them, nor is it likely to reduce cases of childhood obesity. Instead, we should be focusing on what children are eating. Healthy eating is a more effective way of reducing childhood obesity rates, and it can also help prevent diabetes and improve brain function. If a person is physically active but has an unhealthy diet, they still run the risk of getting health problems later in life.

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Leung Yat-lun,14, Carmel Pak U Secondary School

I don’t think so. Although doing physical exercise is good for our health, students simply have no time to do it. In Hong Kong, students have an endless number of classes to attend, projects to complete and exams to revise for. If they’re forced to do exercise on top of that, they will completely burn out.

Rachel Ho, 12, Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section)

Yes, of course! Most health experts recommend that students do 60 minutes of sports a day, three times a week. However, most students only exercise during their PE lesson – that’s only one hour a week. What’s more, research shows that regular exercise can help reduce the symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression. This is particularly important for Hong Kong students, who are prone to depression because of the huge amount of schoolwork they have to do. For the sake of their health, students’ should be forced to do more exercise.

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Henry Chow Ka-hang, 13, King Ling College

Absolutely not. It isn’t fair to force students to do more exercise. The aim may be to improve students’ health, but schools may end up hurting their self-esteem if they try to judge students’ “health” by how well they can throw a ball. Of course being fit and strong is a good thing, and schools should strongly encourage students to be active, but at the end of the day, it should still be a choice.

Rachel Chan, 15, Henrietta secondary school

Yes, absolutely. Our bodies do so much for us, so we need to keep them in good condition. If we sit around being inactive all day, we aren’t going to get the best out of our bodies. What’s more, doing exercise doesn’t have to mean doing boring things like going to the gym. We can just run around the playground playing games and having fun.

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Lee Cheuk-ling, 13, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Of course. Nowadays, most schools just have one or two PE lessons a each week and most of the students don’t exercise at home. Hong Kong students are basically stressed, unhappy and unhealthy. Exercise releases endorphins into the body, helping to ease stress. At the end of the day, forcing students to do more exercise will make them happier in the long run.

Adelene So, 14, Salem-lmmanuel Lutheran College

No. Without a doubt, doing exercise is good for us, but it’s supposed to be fun, not yet another thing that is forced upon us. How are we supposed to enjoy exercise if we don’t get to do it in our own time and in our own way?

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Yannis Tsui, 14, Carmel Pak U Secondary School

No. Students should never be forced to do anything as they deserve the freedom to choose. Otherwise, they’ll end up being afraid of school. If schools want students to be healthy, they should adopt a more encouraging approach, like giving prizes or certificates for reaching certain goals in sport. The students would be more willing to do more physical exercise in their free time.

Chui Lok-yiu, 12, Holy Family Canossian College

I don’t think so. Although physical exercise keeps us fit, the teaching schedule is already very tight. If schools allocate more time to PE classes, there won’t be enough time to cover all the topics. I think we should do more physical exercise in our free time, but not at school.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Should schools introduce a no-uniform policy?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge