Values Of Physical Education In Students Life: A Sociological View Of Problem


Physical education and sports as a remarkable social phenomenon have reached their modern high level of development, supported and facilitated in most countries at the national level, having passed a long historical way. A significant increase of mental labor proportion in the modern production process does not reduce the requirements for physical fitness of workers, as technological progress further sharpens the problems of human security and safety in the production system. Physical education is a complex social phenomenon solving the problems of not only physical, but also mental, moral, spiritual and professional development of a person. Physical education discipline in university education achieves its humanistic goal if its forms meet the principles of accessibility and maximum attraction of youth, and physical exertion corresponds to the level of functionality. The article analyzes students' values in the field of physical education. The quantitative and qualitative characteristics of physical education and sports activity can be expressed through the time spent consuming this culture, the regularity of physical exercises and the students’ motivation in the field of physical education. The research results lead to the conclusion that the present amount of motor activity does not provide students’ full-fledged development and health promotion. Modernization of the students’ physical education process using an innovative sports approach can significantly enhance its socializing and cultural component.

Keywords: Physical educationmotivationvaluesstudent's personality


In the modern world, physical and athletic culture is an integral part of social and individual culture; purposeful motor activity has become an optimizing factor of whether physical or moral and emotional state for people of all ages. Competent use of basic and additional means of physical training promotes successful solution of health problems, increases human performance, enhances adaptation to new communicative environments. The processes of public reality transformation also affected the sphere of physical and sports education. The improvement of physical education quality is closely connected with its objective role in changing human life activity and creating health-saving environment. Mastering the complex of physical and sports culture values ​​and technologies should be considered as a powerful stimulus for personal self-realization (Lubysheva, 2017).

Formation of social activity of university youth along with its physical development is an important condition for the graduate preparation of an educational institution for his professional work. At the level of society as a whole, physical education and sports are considered as the means of effective solution of such social and economic tasks as health promotion, maintaining high mental and physical efficiency of young people. With the increasing role and importance of physical education and sports, it becomes increasingly important to study its value potential (Evseev, 2012; Novikova, 2017), including for the purposes of health-saving idea realization.

The proportion of students systematically engaged in physical education and sports activity in the total number of full-time students is 69% (compared to 16% in 2008) (the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, 2016). The research results show that 85% of the respondent students (including 80% of men and 88% of women) express intention to exercise for health purposes.

Renewal and deepening of the physical education qualitative content (Lubysheva, 2015; Abildsnes et al., 2015; Chang & Lei, 2013) is associated with the more complete realization of its value potential and cultural component. The proportion of Russian citizens systematically engaged in physical culture and sports activity in the total population is 32% (it has doubled compared to 2008) (the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, 2016). Moreover, physical education has a positive impact on such components of healthy lifestyle as work culture, communication, moral and psychological climate in the team and the family, environmental culture and others. Physical and sports culture is closely connected with spiritual, moral principles (Wang, 2015). Therefore, the problem of spiritual discourse in the physical development of human is especially important in the modern world. This gives grounds to say that the functions of physical culture play an indispensable role in the spiritual (Cañadas et al., 2014), personal and professional development of human and youth in particular.

Problem Statement

In recent years, physical education is more and more often considered not only as a social phenomenon, but also as a sustainable personal quality. Physical education, being one of the aspects of general culture, largely determines the person’s behavior in school, at work, at home, in communication, and facilitates solution of common tasks in life activity. In the late 20th century, the ideas of P.F. Lesgaft on the educational orientation of physical education, on the unity of spiritual and physical development of human, became dominating in researches. These ideas determined the main target of the pedagogical system for youth physical education formation. The thing is that one should learn to analyze and compare movements, trying to adapt them to such activity mode, when the maximum effective work is one with the least energy. This principle is also applicable in abstract mental activity (Lesgaft, 1987, p. 22).

In educational practice, it is effective to consider a three-level model of culture, specifying value-normative, institutional and technological aspects of physical education, which allows considering it from different points: as a set of values, norms, ideals, as the process and the result of activity of various social institutions and the individual.

In the system of students’ physical education, a contradiction has arisen between the theoretical and scientific-methodological, technological potential of physical education, between the quality and the level of its mastering in the educational process. This occurs due to focusing on the technological side of physical education and the lack of motivation and conditions for its spiritual value and intellectual wealth realization, and sometimes the low quality of teaching this discipline (Vilensky, 2013). There is a new pedagogical direction acquiring a special role in the university students’ physical and intellectual potential formation and harmonization; this is introduction of sports culture into the process of physical education (Lubysheva, 2015). Sports culture provides great opportunities for development of the individual potential, realization of personal attitudes, needs, aspirations and interests among young people.

The authors of the innovative concept of physical education (Balsevich, 2006; Vilensky, 2013; Lubysheva, 2015) propose to move from an educational system that is focused only on motor skills and physical qualities formation to the modern system that provides a person with scientific knowledge about his body, the means of health maintaining and promotion, and supports emergence of the person’s need (motivation) in a healthy lifestyle and physical self-improvement. It is found that students who have obtained the mass sports categories keep their health at the "safe level". The amount of their motor activity is about the optimal one and is no less than 6-8 hours per week. The problem of the formation needs in a systematic physical activity throughout life becomes important (Zagrevsky, 2013, p. 160).

The change of educational and scientific paradigms has revealed the need for rethinking the functional purpose of physical education in the personality formation, its worldview and adaptive abilities development. In this regard, education in the field of physical education is not only exercise, but also enculturation into modern society (Polovnikov et al., 2016). Physical education should be determined by the main theoretical ideas and directions: the value approach to studying and development of human potential; overcoming hypodynamia, accustoming to a healthy lifestyle of physical education and sports orientation; formation of the individual physical education, its introduction into all spheres of social life.

It is necessary to transform the educational process in higher education institutions into the one in which the physical self-education and self-improvement of students would become dominant. The following principles are outlined for the mass sports organization: a combination of masterhood and mass character; the system of competitions (covering athletes of different levels); an individual approach.

Research Questions

In the authors’ opinion, the main task of physical education development at higher education institutions should be formed of students' motivational and value attitude to physical education and the need for regular use of entire range of its tools. Considering the value potential of the physical education of modern society, it is necessary to keep in mind two levels of values - social and personal.

The final study sample consisted of 1158 students (265 women and 893 men). The results of a sociological study carried out by the authors show that there are only 25% of students with optimal and high physical education and sports activity (6 hours or more per week). Moreover, awareness of student youth about the social essence of physical education and its importance in future professional activity is quite poor. Only 1/3 of the respondent students consider it necessary to engage in physical training and sports for their future professional and social activities (Evseev, 2012).

University classes of physical education are treated by many students as "the required academic duty". Most of the respondent students consider physical education to be a pleasant pastime, a game, entertainment, an interesting activity. Hence, only 40% of students strive to fulfill the teacher's requirements for physical education and sports classes or perform "better than others". University physical education liberalization, provision of free choice of sports, forms and means of organization of physical culture activity – all of this blur a central question of motor density and training intensity, though approximately 60% of students are ready for its raise (Polovnikov et al., 2016).

The lack of the students’ desire to fully use physical education and sports for improving their physical qualities, skills, and the level of physical development is a reflection of the fact that the possibilities of physical education as a means of performance development have not yet been properly appreciated by young people and are more out of students’ scope of interests.

What reasons prevent students from practicing physical education? Analysis of the sociological survey data reveals a complex of objective and subjective factors characterizing the students’ attitude and motivation for physical education and sports activities.

The students argue that their needs, interests and motives for inclusion in physical education and sports activities depend on the materiel condition, teaching and training process content orientation, equipment and sportswear availability, a benevolent atmosphere, the quality of training of teachers (Sushchenko et al., 2016; Bondin & Putilina, 2017) and other factors.

There are significant differences in the evaluation of factors that, in students’ opinion, prevent from formation of motivation and an active positive attitude to physical education and sports activities. The most significant factor is the lack of time: 13% (including 11% of men and 15% of women) of respondents indicate this factor as the main reason for their low physical education and sports activity. In the authors’ opinion, the real reason for low activity in physical education and sports is not the quantitative lack of free time, but the inability to distribute it rationally. But the most important thing is the low value of physical education and sports activity in the structure of the student's free time.

Among other reasons, there is a lack of need (motivation) in sports and sports activities, a lack of necessary conditions for classes. Another obstacles for activity in physical education and sports are also pernicious habits (alcohol, smoking, laziness, etc.), health status, etc.

Purpose of the Study

The article aims to substantiate the need of mastering the values of physical education in professional and personal development, to determine students’ attitude to the values of physical education and to identify the reasons that impede the formation of stable need for intensive discretionary sports activities.

The central issue of the article is the analysis of subjective estimation of physical development level sufficiency and its relation to the values of physical education. According to the conducted research, it can be argued that the motor activity of students upon physical condition measures fails to provide steady motivation to active sports activity.

Research Methods

Cultural methodology allows consideration of physical culture as a complex integrative phenomenon in the unity and interrelation of its procedural forms and types, structural components and values (Vilensky, 2013).

Methodological prerequisites for research are represented by the idea of holistic development of the individual, implying the unity of worldview, intellectual and bodily components, what in turn determines the educational, methodical and practical directions of the cognitive process (Lesgaft, 1987; Vygotsky, 1999); and the idea of values to be the elements of culture, to be of subject-object nature, and to relate closely to the needs of society, the social group, the individual (Tugarinov, 1988 p. 261).

The basis of the research is the problem of the education ideal related to the mastering of cultural experience of contemporaries.


The study has shown that physical culture with its enormous value potential offered great opportunities both for society and the individual common culture formation, and for development its own specific values. In the system of ideas on the physical culture values, conditions are being created for changing the physical activity of students. Use of scientific and technological achievements of sports culture in the physical education of students is the most promising way of the university educational process modernization (Lubysheva, 2017). The lack of knowledge on the theory and methodology of physical culture prevents students from realizing the possibilities offered by its resources to influence the human real mental or functional state (Svansdottir et al., 2015). Modern youth should possess not only a sufficient knowledge on the physical culture theory and methodology, motor skills, but should also get sustainable need for the physical culture values.

To date, students tend to underestimate the use of physical culture for everyday life (Polovnikov et al,2016).1. Rational use of physical culture and sports experience in leisure time organizing and everyday healthy lifestyle - only 9% of the respondent students answer in the affirmative (12% of men and 5% of women). These data indicate physical culture and sports opportunities to be underestimated by student youth.2. Movement culture education - 11% of the respondents (8% of men and 15% of women) note the importance of physical education classes for mastering the beautiful manner and culture of movements.3. At the same time, the motivational uncertainty was revealed on the issue of need for physical culture and sports activity in 6% of the respondents, which indicates the importance of studies and educational work on the physical culture values development.

It is necessary to engage students in sporting and mass participation events. The analysis shows the factor of sporting success achievement to be of rather low importance for students: only 11% of respondents recognize its formative influence on their motivational attitudes in the field of physical culture. This fact is likely to explain students’ reluctance to participate in sporting competitions and mass events. Thus, the actual problem becomes the creation of conditions for change of physical activity (Evseev, 2012; Mihailova, 2014).


Students’ subjective estimation of their physical development level sufficiency for productive work and health maintenance remains relatively high. Women appear to be more critical in their physical development level estimation. This entitles us to assume the need to involve students into analysing performed physical and sports exercises, their effect on the dynamic pattern of physical development and health. For the overwhelming majority of students, the real amount of their motor activity in the process of professional education upon physical fitness measures does not ensure the progressive formation of the individual physical culture. Subjectively, about half of the respondent students consider their motion state (less than 6 hours per week) sufficient for normal life and health, which indicates a low level of the individual physical culture. The basic material values of the individual physical culture include: the necessary amount of motor skills, a certain level of basic physical and special qualities development, functional capabilities of the human body, physical fitness and readiness for highly intensive rhythm of modern everyday and professional life. Since 91% of respondent students are willing to improve their physical development level, their physical culture and sports activity can be encouraged due to eliminating that objective obstacles preventing them from exercising their physical culture and health activities. 85% of respondents are ready to use physical culture for health purposes. Attention should be paid to the poor ability of students to manage their leisure time and to use physical activity. Among the obstacles, students note the lack of necessary conditions and the lack of need for exercise, as well as health condition and pernicious habits.

The research results indicate that the level of the student youth interest in sports and sports activities formation is largely determined by the available choice of sports and other forms of physical activity organization. The obtained data demonstrate the considerable interest of students in certain sports sections - 39% of the respondents (10% of men and 38% of women) have chosen this form of exercise. The second place is taken by such forms of students’ physical activity as walking, playing games, swimming - 30% of respondents (25% of men and 39% of women) do it. Thus, it is necessary to promote such conditions and psychological atmosphere for training that would contribute to the formation of students’ value-motivational attitude for discretionary physical training.


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Evseev, V., Sushchenko, V., Pozdeeva, E., & Obukhova, J. (2018). Values Of Physical Education In Students Life: A Sociological View Of Problem. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 342-348). Future Academy.