The evolutionary history of humans suggests the influence of the strong adaptive pressures involved in the physical activities of hunting and gathering. Beginning around 10,000 b.c.e., agriculture made it possible for hunting-gathering tribes to obtain larger amounts of food yet remain in a smaller area. This symbolized the beginning of a more sedentary lifestyle.

After the emergence of cultural differentiation from 3,000 to 200 B.C.E., it became apparent that different cultures viewed physical activity differently. The ancient Chinese recognized the association of inactivity with certain diseases. They believed that regular physical activity could help prevent the disease process. Chinese citizens participated in Kung Fu, gymnastics, dancing, fencing, and wrestling. In India, the pursuit of fitness was secondary only to the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. The Indian ...

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