Physical Education and Training

physical education and training, organized instruction in motor activities that contribute to the physical growth, health, and body image of the individual. The historical roots of physical education go back as far as the ancient Chinese (c.2500 BC), who had a well-developed system of exercise and physical training. In ancient Greece the Athenians were concerned with both physical and mental development and consequently they accorded gymnastics, sports, and rhythms an important educational role. During the period of the Roman Empire, and later during the Middle Ages, physical education was primarily used as a form of military training.

Interest in physical education as a part of the total individual's development was revived during the Renaissance. It was not until the 19th cent., however, that systems of gymnastics were developed in several European countries, notably Germany, Sweden, and England. In the same century gymnastics spread to the United States. Interest in the new system led to a movement to have compulsory physical training in American public schools and to establish physical education in colleges and universities. The first department of physical education at an American college was established at Amherst (1860).

Today, physical education is a required part of most school curricula, and a number of colleges and universities offer degrees in the field. Physical education classes generally include formal exercises, sports, and contests, although an increasing emphasis has been given to such Asian techniques as yoga, karate, and judo. The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (founded 1885) is concerned with improving its fields of education and with increasing the public's knowledge and appreciation of physical education.

See publications of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; J. F. Williams, Principles of Physical Education (8th ed. 1964); D. Van Dalen, A World History of Physical Education (2d ed. 1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Active Bodies: A History of Women's Physical Education in Twentieth-Century America
Martha H. Verbrugge.
Oxford University Press, 2012
The Sociology of Sport and Physical Education: An Introductory Reader
Anthony Laker.
Routledge Falmer, 2002
Learning and Teaching in Physical Education
Colin A. Hardy; Mick Mawer.
Falmer Press, 1999
A Framework for Physical Education in the Early Years
Hazel Kathleen Manners; Margaret E. Carroll.
Falmer Press, 1995
The Physiological Basis of Physical Education and Athletics
Donald K. Mathews; Edward L. Fox; Nancy Allison Close.
W. B. Saunders, 1971 (2nd edition)
Games and Great Ideas: A Guide for Elementary School Physical Educators and Classroom Teachers
Rhonda L. Clements.
Greenwood Press, 1995
Guiding the Young Athlete: All You Need to Know
David Jenkins; Peter Reaburn.
Allen & Unwin, 2000
Physical Children, Active Teaching: Investigating Physical Literacy
Patricia Maude.
Open University Press, 2001
Gender and Physical Education: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions
Dawn Penney.
Routledge, 2002
Physical Activity Behavior and Attitudes toward Involvement among Physical Education, Health, and Leisure Services Pre-Professionals
Huddleston, Sharon; Mertesdorf, Jane; Araki, Kaori.
College Student Journal, Vol. 36, No. 4, December 2002
Guidelines to Assist a Principal or Supervisor in Evaluating a Physical Education Lesson/program
o, Donald F.
Education, Vol. 114, No. 1, Fall 1993
Student Enjoyment of Physical Education Class in Three Teaching Style Environments
Cai, Sean X.
Education, Vol. 118, No. 3, Spring 1998
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