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Physical activity delivers benefits across all aspects of life – O’Dowd

3 December, 2012 - by John O'Dowd

Taking part in, and enjoying, physical activity from a young age can have a positive impact on all aspects of life.

That was the message from Education Minister, John O’Dowd, as he attended the launch of Ballymena Academy’s Co-curricular Physical Recreation Strategy.

The school has committed to ensuring that all its pupils have the opportunity to take part in physical activity, not only through sport, but also in other ways, such as dance and walking.

Speaking during a visit to the school, the Minister said: “Getting involved in physical activity from a young age embeds within children a lifelong and rewarding habit that delivers real benefits. Pupils who take part in sport and other physical activity feel more healthy, are better able to concentrate in class, and ultimately perform even more strongly in tasks and exams.

“I am committed to ensuring that schools are supported to introduce sport and activity to pupils, with PE being a compulsory element of the curriculum. Also, my Department’s Curriculum Sports Programme, now in its fifth year, facilitates qualified coaches to go into primary schools to boost pupils’ physical literacy and confidence. Furthermore, my Department is playing its part to deliver on the Executive’s Sport Matters Strategy, which aims to secure lifelong involvement in sport across society for the benefit of all.”

The Minister continued: “Although it is an excellent way to get physical, being active does not have to mean playing competitive sport. The competitive aspect can at times put off some young people, but this need not be a barrier to getting active and healthy. Being active can mean simply going for a run or brisk walk, learning different kinds of dance steps or throwing a ball with a friend.

“I commend Ballymena Academy on its new and innovative strategy, which has been formulated taking into account the views of pupils and parents as well as statutory agencies and experts. I wish everyone involved the very best as they work to achieve the strategy’s vision – everyone choosing regular participation in physical activity to support learning and lifelong wellbeing.”

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