The Official Website of Jürgen Klinsmann

A Glimpse Back at Physical Education in 1903

In this excerpt from the North American Review (published 1903), D. A. Sargent describes the state of physical education in American colleges from over 100 years ago.  At times, his observations can seem rather odd - socially and politically outdated - but in his era he was a premier figure in the field of sports medicine.  An M.D. grad from Yale, director of Hemenway Gymnasium at Harvard and later a founder of his own school of physical education under his name.  It just goes to show that times change and will continue so.  With your health, keep in mind the flood of information out there but don't let it dissuade you from evidence.  If its engaging through critical thought, adopt it.

But when it shall be generally known that the object of muscular exercise is not to develop muscle only, but to increase the functional capacity of the organs of respiration, circulation and nutrition; not to gain in physical endurance merely, but to augment the working power of the brain; not to attain bodily health and beauty alone, but to break up morbid mental tendencies to dispel the gloomy shadows of despondency, and to insure serenity of spirit; when men shall have learned that much of the ill-temper, malevolence, and uncharitableness which pervade society arises from feeble health, and that the great mental and moral disturbances which sometimes threaten the stability of a government may be traced to physical causes, then will the training of the body rival in dignity and and importance the training of the mind for the interests of mind and body will be recognized as inseparable.