President John F. Kennedy was a major supporter of fitness and health-related benefits to United States citizens. He continued the Presidential Council for Fitness Club Youth naming Bud Wilkinson as head of the council. The name was also changed to the Presidential Council on Physical Condition. Kennedy spoke openly about the need for the United States citizens to improve their fitness levels including with writing an article in « Sports Illustrated » magazine titled « The Soft American ». He said: « We are under-exercised as a nation ; we look instead of playing ; we ride instead of walking ». Kennedy has prompted the federal government to be more involved in the promotion in national fitness and launched fitness pilot programs for children. Kennedy’s commitment to fitness can be summarized in one sentence that said : « Physical fitness is the basis of all other forms of excellence ».
Dr. Ken H. Cooper, widely recognized as the « Father of the modern fitness movement » is generally known to encourage more people to train as any other individual in history. Cooper advocated a philosophy that has abandoned the treatment of disease by preventing the disease. « It is easier to maintain good health through exercise, diet and emotional balance than to regain once it is lost », he said. Early in his career, Cooper stressed the need for epidemiological data to support the benefits of regular exercise and health. Data from thousands of individuals have become the foundation for his aerobics concept. Aerobics released in 1968 sent a powerful message to United States citizens – to prevent the development of chronic diseases, we must do regular exercise and maintain a high fitness level throughout life. The message, programs and ideas of Dr. Cooper created the template from which the fitness proliferated until modern times.
The Lessons of History
The history of fitness depicts fascinating themes that are closely related in the 21st century. A common feature is the strong association of military power and politics with fitness throughout the progress of humanity. In many ways, this shows the impact of our world leaders can have on health and fitness.
The mind-body concept has had a precarious development. Sometimes some cultures prescribe spirituality at the expense of the body, while others, such as the Greek society, confirmed the idea that a healthy mind can only be in a healthy body.
Another interesting development from history is the concept of the exercise for the body and music for the soul. Fitness programs today have developed this concept harmoniously, music has became a distinctive element to the exercice experience.
It seems that societies become too enamored of wealth, prosperity and self-entertainment so that fitness levels drop. Also as technology progressed with humans, fitness levels declined. So, this is a resolution with which we are challenging societies today: Maybe using all the extensive research on the health and fitness combined with the creative minds of the fitness industry today, we can now solve this part of the fitness puzzle.
This is the end of our journey through time. Personally I learned a lot and I see fitness differently (it changes Photoshop’s delirium). I hope it was the same for you.