Joe Wicks vs PE

The Benefits of PE at Home


Dan Armitage is an all-round sports enthusiast, who grew up playing football and racket sports – he never turns down an opportunity to try something new.

Graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a Sports Coaching degree, Dan migrated to a career in sales, culminating in joining the Maudesport team in 2014. Having worked his way from Sales to Purchasing, he now heads up the Product Management and Marketing team, where he can express his love for all sports and physical activity through the development of Maudesport’s evolving product ranges and content.

Dan’s Blog – Joe Wicks vs PE

It is undeniable that Joe Wicks is doing a great job at helping to keep the nation, and more importantly children active while we are in lockdown.

His free daily workouts hosted on YouTube are shared with his 2.2 million followers. He has also raised an incredible £91,256.38 for the NHS Charities Together fund.

I work during the day, so I have been unable to join in the daily kids’ workouts, but I have taken the opportunity to take on his ‘7 days of Sweat’ challenge. The man’s enthusiasm is infectious, and I have to say I am a big advocate of what he is doing – I feel great and part of something during these strange times.

What I like most about the Body Coach is that he has a focus on feeling good about yourself and pushing through the difficult moments to get to the end.

It was interesting to read the recent interviews with Joe, who believes that these daily workouts should be made mandatory in primary and secondary schools after lockdown is lifted, which, when you think about it, sounds like a great idea.

But, when do you schedule these 20 or 30-minute sessions…

In school time? Is it the responsibility of schools or parents? What part of the day or lesson would this impact? During PE lessons? How practical would this be?

PE lessons are the obvious choice…

But this is NOT PE, this is physical activity. While it is so important for everyone to get their recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day, Physical Activity and Physical Education are NOT the same things.


But what is the difference?

Physical Activity in basic terms is a movement that requires the bodies energy. And it does encompass a range of activities, from gardening, cycling, walking, sports, dance, yoga etc. so to an extent, PE is a form of physical activity.

Physical Education is so much more than just physical activity. It is structured and planned and works towards agreed outcomes and is more than just raising your heart rate and taking part in physical activity. It is also about learning – about yourself, your body, movement, nutrition and even the anatomy and psychology around sports and physical exercise as you get further through the curriculum. PE is all about ‘learning to move’ and becoming physically competent at a defined task. It’s about ‘moving to learn’ and becoming more aware, gaining a greater understanding beyond physical activity, like growth mindset, wellbeing, teamwork and problem-solving. The context for the learning is physical activity, with children experiencing a broad range of activities, including sport and dance.

Should physical activity sessions be mandatory?

Absolutely! But NOT at the expense of lesson time dedicated to Physical Education. I think that making sessions part of the school day and not relying on parents to encourage activity, is a brilliant way of giving every child the same opportunities to be fit and healthy, whilst not excluding those who are less physically able.

We can take inspiration from countries around the world, who already incorporate mass sessions for school-age children. What if we adopted something like Japan or China, where in some states there is a mandatory 15-minute warm-up style session called rajio taisō. This literally translates to ‘radio exercises’ and is performed to music with guidance from the radio

The enthusiasm of the Body Coach and the speed with which children and parents got on board with the daily sessions and made them part of their homeschooling routine is heart-warming. This should not go to waste.

With 1 in 5 children classed as obese by the time they reach Primary School and 1 in 3 by the time they reach Secondary school, it is clear that we, as a society and as educators must do something different to turn the tide. We must help our children beat the statistics and be fit and healthy. It is certainly time for a change!


Mum of two and current homeschooler from Shropshire

“Before lockdown, I had never heard of the Body Coach and had no desire to work out with Joe. However, the last few weeks have taught me and my boys the value of routine and the need for doses of physical activity to get through these strange times.

My sons have a lot of energy and I found that they were much more able to concentrate on morning tasks after a session with Joe, compared to before we started. I think it would be wonderful to incorporate this into the morning routine at their primary school.”

PE Teacher and Head of Year at a large comprehensive school in the South of England

“Another way I think of PE is Personal Exercise. I would argue Joe’s workouts can’t be personalised because he doesn’t ‘know’ the needs of the children watching him. Also, PE is about heart, head and hands or Physical, Mental and Social. How can his workouts encompass all three?

Where is the social aspect? Also, within PE the government’s statutory guidance says that PE must include employability skills, where is that in Joe’s sessions? As teachers, we need to develop resilience and mental toughness in pupils through PE (dealing with setbacks, emotional control and overcoming adversity) how do PA sessions expose students to situations that allow that to experience all of this?

Saying that, I own three Body Coach recipe books and my wife and children love him!”

Coach and Personal Trainer from the South of England

“Some people have been accusing Joe Wicks of cashing in on the pandemic after his PE sessions became an overnight global sensation but, in a recent interview, he revealed that he’s donating all of the money he’s earned from ads (£90k and counting) to the NHS.

Before he became a household name, he travelled up and down the country educating and promoting fitness in schools for free.

This man had a purpose to get kids healthy and active and he’s stayed true to that throughout the current situation. He saw an opportunity to get families and children active during lockdown, the benefit to those people far outweighs any money he may or may not make as a result and I think these sessions should be incorporated into schools.”

The Maudesport team shared some of their favourite workouts and games; perfect for keeping children and adults entertained!


“Exercise is an amazing tool to help us feel happier, more energised, and more optimistic, so we encourage people to keep moving and stay healthy and positive.”


“Resistance bands are great for a full-body workout. If you’re keeping fit, your body will be strong and help you to cope with stress and also fight illness.”


“There is no better mood-booster than a good dance! The This Girl Can campaign have put together some fantastic dance routines to keep you and the kids happy,”


“With the world missing its football fix, challenge pupils to a creative shooting contest. All you need is something to kick and something to aim for…!”