physical education and 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 Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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