Physical fitness as one of the directions of the historical development of physical culture


  • Vasyl Sutula
  • Larisa Lutsenko
  • Andrey Zhadan
  • Anastasiia Sutula


physical culture, physical fitness, theory, law of "interrelation of needs and activities"


Purpose: to reveal the cultural and historical origins of the concept of "physical fitness".

Material & Methods: an analysis of specialized literature covering various aspects of the development of the field of human activity associated with the use of physical exercises.

Results: at the turn of the 20th century, the term "physical culture" was used as a generalising name for the three areas of people's activities related to the use of physical exercises: activities aimed at bringing the body in line (physical fitness) activities aimed at developing physical strength and body build (bodybuilding) activities aimed at improving through the use of physical exercises (therapeutic physical culture).

Conclusion: In terms of the theory of physical culture of physical fitness is seen as a particular socio-cultural phenomenon, which is a historically conditioned human activity involving the use of physical exercise at their leisure, and individual and socially significant results of such activities.


Annotated bibliography of serial editions in English in the field of physical culture (from 1829 to 1990 year inclusive), available at: pdf

Vasil Sutula (2018), "Problems and Perspectives of Construction of the Generalized Theory of Physical Culture", Journal of Physical Fitness, Medicine & Treatment in Sport, Vol. 3 (4), pp. 01-02, available at:

Sutula, V.O. (2016), "Physical Culture: The Preconditions of Theory", Teoriia i metodyka fizychnoho vykhovannia i sportu, No. 3, pp. 60-65. (in Ukr.)

Vasyl Sutula (2018), "Generalizing the definition of" sport "as one of the basic constructs of generalizing the theory of physical culture and the theory of sport", Slobozans'kiy naucovo-sportivniy visnik, No. 1(63), pp. 89-97, doi: 10.15391/snsv.2018-1.016. (in Ukr.)

Vasyl Sutula (2017), "Conceptual Provisions of the Generalized Theory of Physical Culture", Teoriia i metodyka fizychnoho vykhovannia i sportu, No. 3, pp. 107-115. (in Ukr.)

Vasyl Sutula (2016), "The essence of the connection between physical culture, physical recreation and physical fitness", Teoriia i metodyka fizychnoho vykhovannia i sportu, No. 4, pp. 77-84. (in Ukr.)

Glassman, G. (2002), "What Is Fitness and Who Is Fit?", available at:

Le Corre, E. (2014), "The History of Physical Fitness", available at:

Sifferman, J. (2009), "Physical Culture: it's more than just bodybuilding, muscles, and old-time strongmen training culture", available at:

Kun, L. (1982), Vseobshchaya istoriya fizicheskoy kultury [The General History of Physical Education], Raduga, Moscow. (in Russ.)

Henderson, L.J. (1913), The Fitness of the Environment An Inquiry Into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter, available at:

Encyclopædia Britannica (2018), Darwinian fitness, available at: