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12:32 PM

Reuters: Negative Memories of Gym Class Influence Adult Habits

Reuters Health recently interviewed Carolyn Buenaflor, associate director of Cedars-Sinai Healthy Habits, about a study that showed adult attitudes about exercise are deeply affected by their memories of school gym classes.

An online survey of more than 1,000 adults, ages 18 to 45 spread over 46 states showed there is a strong correlation between negative gym class memories and respondents’ current exercise attitudes and habits.

“Memories of enjoyment of PE . . . were the most substantial correlates of present-day attitudes and intentions for physical activity,” the investigators report in the Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The survey of 392 males and 636 females also showed:

  • Rarely being chosen first for team sports was related to a sedentary lifestyle in adulthood;
  • 34 percent reported feeling embarrassed by their experiences in Physical Education classes;
  • 18 percent said they experienced a lack of enjoyment in gym class.

Buenaflor, who was not involved in the research, told Reuters that today’s schoolchildren are not having the same gym experiences as their parents. Instead of elimination games like Dodgeball, Physical Education classes are more likely to now emphasize group games that spotlight teamwork instead of individual performance and to focus on lifelong fitness activities and health awareness.

“Getting in front of the class and kicking the ball is not the best thing to foster enjoyment and physical exercise,” said Buenaflor, who was not involved in the research.

Cedars-Sinai Healthy Habits is a community benefit program that partners with the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide nutrition education and physical activity programs.

Click here to read the complete article on Reuters.com.