The drastic differences between gym classes in the 1960’s and now was recently shown, with some schools now looking to go back to those exercises in order to help stem the large increase in obesity among the youth of America.
During that period a half-century ago, then-President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to reach their peak when it came to physical fitness. Kennedy said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basic of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”
The impetus for Kennedy’s challenge was the effort put forth in Carmichael, California, where students at La Sierra High School went through daily, rigorous exercise in 1962. The appeal was effective enough that approximately 4,000 people signed up to perform the exercises.
Kennedy’s belief was that a person’s overall life, which includes their mental and spiritual being would be enhanced if their physical being was in the best shape possible.
This current push is being made by a documentary filmmaker named Doug Orchard, who is looking back at the La Sierra method of exercise. This method included standard calistethenics mixed with climbing exercises of various nature. Contemporary video in the documentary from a La Sierra teacher reinforces Kennedy’s notion.
The explosion of obesity can be seen from the statistic from the Center for Disease Control, which shows that among people between the ages of two and 19, 17 percent of them are considered obese. That accounts for 12.7 million people.