This paper traces the path of the role of exercise in promoting health and the emergence of scientific study of the physiology of exercise from ancient times through modern times. Ancient physician–philosophers taught that exercise was important for health and employed exercise to control diseases such as diabetes and obesity, to offset the effects of aging, and for military preparedness. By the early modern era, the first books on exercise had been published, and the start of the use of exercise for therapy, rehabilitation, and occupational medicine emerged. Philosopher scientists proposed and applied experimental methods as early as the Middle Ages, and the scientific method was further developed during the early modern period. Experiments about the physiological responses to exercise began in the middle of the 19th century. The application of innovative research methods resulted in exponential gains in knowledge about the physiology of exercise throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Winding Path of Measurement of the Body’s Responses to Exercise: Past, Present, and Future
Carol Ewing Garber
Minding the Body: The Evolution of the Psychology of Physical Activity
Steven J. Petruzzello
This essay, written as part of an invited address for the National Academy of Kinesiology’s 92nd annual meeting, with the overarching theme being “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, Embracing the Future,” provides an assessment of the evolution of sport and exercise psychology, or what I refer to as the psychology of physical activity. Specifically, I examine the role that psychology of physical activity has played since the academy was established, with particular attention to the contributions of academy fellows. I then provide my reflections on the current status and critical issues for the psychology of physical activity. Finally, I offer some thoughts on future directions for the subdiscipline in the broader field of kinesiology and some thoughts on how the academy could advance the academic discipline of kinesiology.
Blending Physical Activity, Fitness, and Health and Public Health in Kinesiology
Early physical education programs were interested in how exercise and physical fitness can improve student health and well-being. This interest in improving health is a foundational purpose of public health. The emergence of physical activity (PA) as a health-enhancing behavior prompted epidemiologists and researchers to identify associations between PA, morbidity, and mortality and to understand the doses needed to enhance health outcomes. Public health experts convened consensus meetings, agreeing that physical inactivity was a public health problem. PA leaders and educators created workshops to train researchers and public health practitioners in topics on PA and public health. Kinesiology departments have embraced the PA and public health agenda. Eleven kinesiology departments have joined the Schools of Public Health, and some offer degrees or concentrations in PA and public health. Most kinesiology departments not in a School of Public Health offer undergraduate courses in PA, fitness, and health, blending kinesiology and public health topics.
How to Promote Physical Activity Across the Life Span: Tips From Grasshoppers, Ants … and Eleanor Metheny
R. Scott Kretchmar
This paper addresses two of the recurring themes of the 2023 National Academy of Kinesiology meeting—namely, how to articulate the value of physical activity most forcefully and how to promote it most effectively. Authors of several papers placed an emphasis on the values of well-being, particularly those related to health, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and exercise persistence. Yet, there was an acknowledgment that we had not been sufficiently effective in winning converts to activity across the life span. Questions were also raised, both implicitly and explicitly, about our unity in kinesiology and where we (or different parts of us) belong in university structures. I address these issues by employing two characters from The Fables of Aesop (the grasshopper and the ant) in addition to the philosophies of G.K. Chesterton and Eleanor Metheny. I present a paradoxical model for kinesiology that focuses on how different movements mean and celebrates extreme levels of diversity amid unshakable unity.
Erratum. Are Preference and Tolerance Measured With the PRETIE-Q (Preference for and Tolerance of the Intensity of Exercise Questionnaire) Relevant Constructs for Understanding Exercise Intensity in Physical Activity? A Scoping Review
Adapted Physical Activity Scholarship: Evolving From Corrective to Inclusion and Anti-Ableist
Karen P. DePauw
Kinesiology and adapted physical activity (APA) share a common history rooted in the medical model approach to physical activity, movement, and the human body. The evolution of APA was influenced by these early roots and later by special-education legislation, sensory-motor perspectives, inclusion movement, and the disability-rights movement. Originally identified as adapted physical education, APA emerged as a professional field and an academic discipline. Since the 1950s, the research and scholarship has increased and cuts across the specialization areas (subdisciplines) of kinesiology. The multidisciplinary nature of APA scholarship has also reached beyond the discipline of kinesiology informed by disability studies and sociology. Reflection about APA and kinesiology reveals the ableist nature of the medical model, which informed early professional practice and scholarship. Thus, it is critical that APA and kinesiology engage in anti-ableist scholarship to better understand human physical activity and movement inclusive of individuals with disabilities.
The Evolution of Scholarship of Biomechanics and Motor Control Within the Academy: The Past, the Present, and the Future
Kolby J. Brink, Aaron Likens, and Nick Stergiou
This essay delves into the intricate relationship between biomechanics and motor control, exploring their historical evolution and close interdependence. From the foundational works of Aristotle to the contemporary advancements achieved by esteemed members of the National Academy of Kinesiology, we describe the impactful contributions of both past and present National Academy of Kinesiology figures in the realms of motor control and biomechanics. A key theme throughout the essay is the recognition of the fundamental influence of natural laws on movement and the fundamental role of variability in unifying the realms of biomechanics and motor control. Looking ahead, we emphasize the transformative potential of strong inference as a guiding principle for substantive research in both fields, illustrating its application through our investigative endeavors. By uniting biomechanics and motor control through interdisciplinary collaboration, this pursuit of knowledge holds the promise of reshaping our comprehension of human movement and performance.
Whither (or Wither) the Humanities in Kinesiology?
This article assesses the state of the humanities in kinesiology. Programs variously referred to as sport history, sport philosophy, physical culture studies, and physical cultural studies have become endangered species within the field. In response, I highlight several scholars who are, in their own ways, stewards of a humanities-centered, interdisciplinary approach to understanding human movement. In learning from their work, humanists must do more to save themselves from extinction.
Curriculum Alignment: Doing Kinesiology as We Mean It
Based on the lessons learned from history and articulation of paradigm change in science, this article clarifies the concept of curriculum alignment and describes the risk of curriculum disalignment between school physical education and kinesiology. Through contextualizing kinesiology as an integrated science, it explains the difference between a discipline and a field (subdiscipline) and argues that K–12 physical education is an integral and indispensable component of kinesiology. The article provides detailed discussions about the historical reasons/events that might have led to the curriculum disalignment and the ways the disalignment can be understood and addressed. Based on the analysis, a four-pillar framework (science, health, culture, and education) is proposed as a platform for “doing kinesiology” and a way to address the curriculum disalignment crisis.
Kinesiology’s Passport to Success: Transcending Parallel Trenches, Nurturing Active Open-Mindedness, and Learning From the Octopus
David K. Wiggins
This essay is based on the premise that kinesiology has evolved into a field made up of disparate subdisciplinary areas contributing to fragmentation and lack of common goals and objectives since the publication of Franklin M. Henry’s famous 1964 essay “Physical Education: An Academic Discipline.” As it now stands, there is much evidence of significant disparity between kinesiology’s creed and its practice, with the field failing to fulfill its promise of an integrationist approach to the study of human movement. In order to rectify this situation, steps should be taken to encourage individuals in the field to cross subdisciplinary boundaries, practice what psychologist Jonathan Baron has referred to as “active open-mindedness,” and take seriously the cues provided in the books by Rafe Sagarin, Learning from the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Diseases, and Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonders of Consciousness. One specific recommendation is for academicians in kinesiology to prepare students to become polymaths, a term describing individuals with a thorough knowledge of one subject and broad understanding of many others.