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It’s enough to give you nightmares: 64% of adults still think back on school PE lessons with dread.

A nationwide survey, exploring our memories of school, has revealed that 64 percent of us claim that PE was the worst thing about school, with modern kids having no idea how awful it was.

● 57% believe a bad experience of PE at school affected how they thought about exercise for years to come

● 32% claim it put them off exercise for life

● 95% of parents think their own children have it so much better when it comes to PE

● 77% of modern parents think that technology in schools helps make exercising more fun

Among the most loathed aspects of old school PE lessons was the shame of being one of the last to be picked for a team (42 percent), the torment of having to run about outside in freezing cold in a pair of knickers (40 percent), being made to feel utterly inadequate by the teacher (39 percent) and the embarrassment of having to get changed in front of your class (35 percent).

The meanness of PE teachers (35 percent), coming last in the long run to the patronising sound of clapping (35 percent), and forgetting your kit and having to wear ill-fitting, smelly items from lost property (29 percent) also featured high.

The study by myphizz, a new app to support schools in improving the mental and physical wellbeing of pupils, also found that memories of the inevitable post-lesson cold shower (17 percent), being made to climb a rope in the hall (23 percent), and having to wear plimsolls (12 percent) all still send a shudder down the collective spines of millions of UK adults.

Little wonder then, perhaps, that 57 percent of adults believe that the unpleasantness of school PE lessons affected how they thought about exercise for years to come.

A spokesperson for myphizz, said: “We were shocked to see how many people had a bad experience of PE whilst at school and how this has affected their attitude towards exercise later on in life.

“Thankfully, PE has come a long way from the days of pommel horses and smelly plimsolls and advances in technology like myphizz have meant that schools and teachers have more tools available to engage students in an active curriculum.”

More than one in three (39 percent) of us said the torment of PE had made us feel like being active could never be fun, while a third (32 percent) claimed it had put us off exercise for life.

29 percent of the 1500 polled said that always being picked last for teams had had a lasting impact, and 18 percent said they’d never forget being shouted at by their PE teacher.

In fact, more than half (54 percent) of us said the feeling most associated with their PE lessons was shame.

And when it came to sports days, instead of being excited and pumped about the big day, 62 percent confess they always dreaded it.

Olympic sprinter Adam Gemili who has teamed up with myphizz said: “The mental and physical wellbeing of children has never been more crucial; with lockdown restrictions having a negative impact on activity levels, many children are now sadly not meeting the recommended level of exercise.

“myphizz gives children autonomy and empowers them to manage their own levels of physical activity through choosing exactly the types of exercise they enjoy. Whether they’re completely new to physical activity and enjoy inventing their own fun and wacky physical challenges or they’re an aspiring athlete - myphizz is an inclusive and fun tool that connects like-minded kids and allows them to find friends with shared interests.”

However, according to the data, a staggering 95 percent of the parents polled said they thought their own children have it so much better when it comes to PE than they themselves did when at school.

52 percent believe that PE lessons today are much more dynamic and fun, 50 percent like the fact that their children have more activities to choose from and 44 percent believe that modern PE teachers are so much more encouraging than ones from back in the day.

Four in 10 (40 percent) of parents believe that PE today is so much more inclusive, and 30 percent think that the clever use of goals and targets keeps their kids motivated, and 26 percent believe that students are less likely to be picked on these days.

And 77 percent of modern UK parents think that technology, such as apps that allow children to compete against each other and find new friends who like the same sports, help make exercising more fun.

Other haunting memories of school PE include the hard, blue PE mats (12 percent), being tripped up during matches (11 percent) - and the indignity of being made to pay rounders (12 percent).

While almost three in 10 (28 percent) of women shudder when they remember the gym knickers they had to wear for PE.

The Twenty Worst Memories of School PE Lessons, According to the Nation’s Adults.

  1. Being the last to be picked for a team - 42%

  2. Doing PE outside in the cold or rain - 40%

  3. Being made to feel inadequate by your teacher - 39%

  4. The embarrassment of getting changed in front of everyone - 35%

  5. Coming last in races - 32%

  6. My PE teacher - he/she was really mean! - 32%

  7. Having to run the 1500 metres - 30%

  8. Forgetting your kit and having to wear lost property - 28%

  9. Cross country races - 27%

  10. Being shouted at by the teacher - 23%

For teachers and schools wanting to see the positive impact myphizz could have on their pupil’s physical and mental wellbeing visit and register for a 30-day free trial.


The research for myphizz was carried out online by Perspectus Global throughout July 2021 amongst a panel resulting in 1,536 UK adults responding.

About myphizz

Built by four teachers, turned entrepreneurs, myphizz is an exciting new platform to support schools in improving the mental and physical wellbeing of pupils.

The app encourages children to engage in a more active, healthier and happier lifestyle, providing the opportunity for them to take part in physical activities that they enjoy and set exciting challenges for one another.

The technology, which runs through secure schools networks and is only visible to school communities, can be accessed via PC, tablets or mobile phones. Teachers have access to a dashboard where they can view pupil activity, determine what is becoming popular and monitor the school growing healthier as a community.

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