Exercise was not regarded as a very high priority.
Benjamin Franklin recommended regular physical
activity, including resistance training.
President Thomas Jefferson was the first president to
really take into account physical fitness’s importance.
“ Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to
exercise, and the weather shall be little regarded. If the
body is feeble, the mind will not be strong.” –Thomas
Catherine Beecher, was a educator and advocator for
women’s education, was the inventor of modern day
“aerobics”. She started a program that mixed
calisthenics and music.
The Industrial Revolution had a huge negative impact
on fitness. The new widespread use of technological
advances led to less physically active people.
The first scientific studies of fitness instruction
Organized fitness teaching methodologies started
Anthropometric measurements to assess fitness were
Body fat test.
Dr. Dio Lewis (Dioclesian Lewis) introduced “The New
Started organized exercise classes.
Exercise that would meet the needs of females, the old, etc.
Not just exercise that was designed for strong men.
1861, Dr. Lewis founded the Normal Institute for
Most of today's system of physical education and culture is
based on the influence of Dr. Lewis.
The 20th Century was the beginning of a New Era for
Much of physical fitness change was due to President
Described as one of the most physically fit presidents.
President Theodore Roosevelt used his power and lead by
example to encourage and help emphasize physical fitness in the
After World War 1 ended, horrible details of troops
physical fitness was reviled.
One of out of every three service men were found to be unfit
Under President Woodrow Wilson , the government
passed legislation that demanded physical education in
schools be improved.
Due to the relaxation after a war , people began to exercise
Physical fitness became even less important in 1929 after
the stock market crash. All the legislation passed in favor of
physical education after WWI was lost and forgotten.
Money spent on these programs was now being spent
to help the economy.
Jack LaLanne aka “the Godfather of Fitness” began to
develop new fitness programs and equipment.
Became the foundation of the modern fitness movement.
Once again poor physical ability of troops was an
important factor during the war and after the facts
were shared with the United States, President Truman
and the government placed importance of physical
Dr. Thomas K. Cureton from the University of Illinois
introduced fitness tests.
Cardiorespiratory endurance testing
Muscular strength testing
Dr. Cureton also identified exercise intensity guidelines
to help improve fitness levels.
President Eisenhower formed the President’s Council of
Citizens’ Advisory Committee on the Fitness of American
Youth was appointed.
Educating the public on the harmful effects of low fitness
became a priority.
American Health Association
The American Medical Association
The American Alliance of Youth Fitness.
1954 the American College of Sports’ Medicine (ACSM) was
Throughout history ACSM has been responsible for many stands on
President John F. Kennedy played a great role in
changing fitness and promoting its health-related
benefits for Americans of ALL ages.
He broadened the scope of the President’s council on
Youth Fitness. Changed its name to President’s Council
on Physical Fitness (1963)
Prompted the Federal government in being more
involved with fitness nationwide.
Started youth fitness programs.
Dr. Ken H. Cooper, known as the “father of modern
fitness movement”, advocated for the philosophy of
diseases prevention instead of diseases treatment.
Messages, programs, and ideas have established the
model from which fitness has grown to today.
1966- President Lyndon B. Johnson created the
Presidential Fitness Award
1968 changed the president’s councils name to
President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Emphasizes the importance of sports in daily life
1972 the President’s Sports Award Program was
1972 Title IX is passed
Helps girls and women sports.
1983 United States Congress declares May “National
Physical Fitness and Sports Month.”
1996 Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity
and Health was released
1997 President’s Council on Physical Fitness and
Sports releases its report of Physical Activity and
sports in the Lives of Boys.
2010 President Barack Obama renamed the agency the
President’s Council of Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.
New emphasis on nutrition as an element to fitness.
President Barack Obama named NFL quarterback Drew Brees and
Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes as co-chair s on the council.
Michelle Obama, “the First Lady of Kids’ Health”,
announces new goal “to end epidemic of childhood
Let’s Move initiative (http://www.letsmove.gov/)
Teamed up with Partnership for a Healthier American and
started the Drink Up campaign.
Improved school lunches for children.
As an athlete and fitness lover it is extremely important to
me that fitness is a part of my world. I think it’s cool that
such influential people see the importance and share the
same enthusiasm in fitness, sports, and nutrition.
I think it is important that presidents, especially Barack
Obama and Michelle Obama, have placed on children and
fitness. As a teacher, it is hard for me to see my students be
so unmotivated about physical fitness and many are
overweight. If children can learn to love physical fitness
and nutrition then they hopefully can live healthier more
active lives. Then also, hopefully they will pass this on to
their children and so on and so forth.
Dalleck, L. PhD & Kratz, L. PhD. (No Date). Fitness in
America. Ideafit.com. Retrieved February 2, 2014, from
President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition .
Retrieved February 2, 2014, from
Softchalk Presentation: Introduction to Exercise