Lifelong Effects of Traumatic P.E. Class Experiences

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

  • Sean Patrick Flanery


Aging in Place

Augh! Remember back in the day having to attend P.E. (Physical Education) class? Those cotton shorts (short- shorts), cotton T-shirt, sneakers, and smelly socks neglected weekly in a wire basket with a combination lock securing the soiled contents for safe keeping till next session. I loved P.E., I was an athlete and always enjoyed climbing ropes, running laps, dodgeball, baseball, and jumping jacks–I excelled. The classes were mainly “taught” by coaches, so an “A” was a given. The locker room talk, competition, towel-snapping, and soiled jock straps, were all part of an aesthetic I cherished.

It was a light sky-blue MAX hair dryer that I used to dry my long wet shaggy hair (this was the 1970’s and I was fully participating in the Hair movement), that attracted the wrong kind of attention from upper-classmen and coaches–they teased me mercilessly and nicknamed me “Keith Partridge” (of the Partridge Family TV show). I was subjected to what is now called bullying and a little extra love when football practice hit drills came around. This all came to an end when one day a coach asked to borrow it…The rest was hair history.

Physical Education class was not fun for everyone, in fact you yourself may have been one of those souls who dreaded it. I knew kids that were not into physical ways of being–perhaps they favored art, theater, math, and science, or were “Hoods” (smokers/partiers), anything other than standing in line waiting to take your turn at climbing the peg-wall or rope and being humiliated by a lack of physical capacity to do so. Your heart pounding as you came closer and closer to the head of the line and your turn to commit social suicide.

From WIKI How to do Anything, they tell you How to Avoid Physical Education Class in 3 ways:

Have your parents write a note. When trying to get out of your physical education class, you might try asking your parents to write an excuse.

Pretend you’ve twisted your ankle. A classic method you can use to get out of a physical education class is to pretend your ankle was injured.

Say you’ve got a migraine. –

I must admit this was discouraging for me to read. I get it; however, P.E. is not for everyone. But physical activity should be. The literature on exercise and longevity is robust for extending both life and health; that goes for mental health too.

Exercise might be the most potent “drug” we have for extending the quality and perhaps quantity of our years of life.

– Peter Attia MD

My concern is that for many GenX / Baby Boomers there were negative associations of physical activity and P.E. class that lasted a lifetime and kept many from the life enhancing benefits. On a positive note, many have found ways to overcome prior historic paradigms of exercise and created lifestyles which, at later stages in life, serve them well. It’s never too late to start exercising, in fact, you may have an advantage not wearing out body parts sooner.

And just think, you won’t have to stand in line wearing those short cotton shorts and smelly socks!



Late-blooming exercisers may get the same benefits as lifelong gym rats

How Older Adults Can Get Started With Exercise

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