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Physical Activity

Physical activity wasn’t always including the events, sports and purposes as it has in our days. Exercising started as an instinct of people in order to survive either by hunting their pray or to get away from their hunters. Early humans had multiple physical capabilities for performing several tasks like running, walking, balancing, crawling, carrying, lifting, jumping, climbing, throwing and fighting. Their remarkable mobility and strength was built by the instinctive and necessary practices occurred on daily basis and not by organized, structured programs and methods as we know them today.

physical activity img1Between 10,000 and 8,000 BC it is assumed that the Agricultural Revolution took place which resulted to the advance of civilization and significant changes of physical activity. People used to live as nomads who hunted or gathered their food so they evolved by settling in specific areas in order to be able to farm these landfields. As such physical activity during this period had the form of daily farming chores and labors which exercised the body to perform a specific variety of movements and led to the attenuation of more complex movements such as climbing and crawling.

The years followed exercise underwent possibly the most important change of its existence. At first it was Greeks and later Romans who started to perceive physical activity as a philosophy and a mean to accomplish well-being. At that time exercise performed in order to improve strength, beauty and discipline and was an essential part of children’s education. Ancient Greeks had the holistic notion that everyone had to have a healthy mind in a healthy body.
A new era for the exercise introduced between 4,000 BC and 476 AD after the fall of the Roman Empire when most of the boys and men had to train for participating in battles. During that period of time civilizations such as Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans and Greeks fought each other repeatedly. The military training at that time aimed at improving movements which had some similarities to those made by early humans but characterized by better structure and different goals. Examples of these movements are walking, running, jumping, climbing, carrying and lifting heavy objects, crawling, throwing, catching and fighting with or without weapons.

During the same time some civilizations, such as Greeks and Egyptians, started to perform physical activity with the form of sports mainly consisted by natural or war related movements.

physical activity img2The years followed exercise underwent possibly the most important change of its existence. At first it was Greeks and later Romans who started to perceive physical activity as a philosophy and a mean to accomplish well-being. At that time exercise performed in order to improve strength, beauty and discipline and was an essential part of children’s education. Ancient Greeks had the holistic notion that everyone had to have a healthy mind in a healthy body.

 

 

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Department of Kinesiology & Health

Loree Gymnasium
70 Lipman Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8525

jghunt@rci.rutgers.edu
P: 848-932-7058