Monday, February 27, 2012

President JFK on Physical Fitness

I decided to take a look at what physical education was like back about 50 years ago. At this time, the United States was facing the Cold War, and this time period was marked by an intense rivalry between our country and the communist Soviet Union. Thus the president at the time, John F. Kennedy wanted to instill physical activity in schools that would give the United States an edge over the Soviets.

I found this video on YouTube that shows some of the ways that physical education classes were conducted back in the 1960’s. It was extremely different and seemed rather militaristic to me.  In the video, JFK said that he hoped to build fit and stronger individuals. The students shown look about high school aged and are standing in a very clear formation and doing the same exercises in unison. The students are simply following whatever exercise the teacher is doing in front of them. JKF sees physical fitness as crucial to life and wants all Americans to gain the benefits of vigor and energy from fitness. He goes on to say that “A country is as strong as it’s citizens”.

 Another thing that I picked up on from watching the short video clip was the fact that I did not notice a single obese individual in the video. Although I cannot be certain as to the reason for this, I am speculating that Americans were more concerned with fitness back then and made it more of a priority than some individuals do today. I am also speculating that Americans back then ate less fast food and most likely had a healthier diet.  

I really found it interested to compare and contrast what physical education and fitness was like back then compared to what it is like now. 

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