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Philosophy - History of Science | An Illustrated History of Health and Fitness, from Pre-History to our Post-Modern World

An Illustrated History of Health and Fitness, from Pre-History to our Post-Modern World

Shephard, Roy J.

2015, XXII, 1077 p. 422 illus., 252 illus. in color.

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  • Only text offering systematic history of health and fitness from earliest times
  • Shows increasing sedentarity of urban populations over recent centuries
  • Offers a unique perspective of matching lifestyle to our genetic inheritance of hunter-gatherer
  • Provides  the opportunity to learn from past successful and unsuccessful lifestyle initiatives
  • Melds knowledge from physiology, physical education, sports science and sports medicine

This book examines the health/fitness interaction in an historical context. Beginning in primitive hunter-gatherer communities, where survival required adequate physical activity, it goes on to consider changes in health and physical activity at subsequent stages in the evolution of “civilization.” It focuses on the health impacts of a growing understanding of medicine and physiology, and the emergence of a middle-class with the time and money to choose between active and passive leisure pursuits. The book reflects on urbanization and industrialization in relation to the need for public health measures, and the ever-diminishing physical demands of the work-place. It then evaluates the attitudes of prelates, politicians, philosophers and teachers at each stage of the process. Finally, the book explores professional and governmental initiatives to increase public involvement in active leisure through various school, worksite, recreational and sports programmes.​

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Athletic Abuses - Chivalrous Sports - Exercise Motivation - Exercise Science - Future of Health and Fitness - Health and Fitness in Prehistory - Health as a Gift of the Gods - Herbal Remedies - Hunter-gatherers - Obesity Epidemic - Olympic Games - Physical Education - Puritan Influences - Ritualized Sport - School Sports - Spectator Sport - Universal Health Care

Related subjects » History of Science - Medicine - Public Health

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: Health and Fitness in Prehistory, Including Inferences from the Current Lifestyle of Indigenous Populations.- Chapter 2: Examples of Early City Life from Ancient Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Israel, India and China: Health as a Gift of the Gods.- Chapter 3: Legacies of the Classical Era: Minoa, Greece and Rome; a Recognition of Material Causes of Poor Health and Fitness.- Chapter 4: The Middle Ages: Monasteries, Medical Schools and the Dawn of State Health Care.- Chapter 5: The Renaissance: The Dawn of Scientific Enquiry into Health and Fitness.- Chapter 6: The Enlightenment: The Impact of Reason and Religion upon Health and Fitness in a Period of Urban Growth and Industrialization.- Chapter 7: The Victorian Era: The Birth of Scientific Societies and Blossoming of Public Health.- Chapter 8: The Modern Era: Blossoming of the Olympic Movement and the Conquest of Acute Disease.- Chapter 9: The Post-Modern Era: Chronic Disease and the Onslaught upon a Sedentary Lifestyle.- Chapter 10: Future Directions in Health and Fitness.

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