This book examines the health/fitness interaction in an historical context. Beginning in primitive hunter-gatherer communities, where survival required adequate physical activity, it goes on to consider changes in health and physical activity at subsequent stages in the evolution of “civilization.” It focuses on the health impacts of a growing understanding of medicine and physiology, and the emergence of a middle-class with the time and money to choose between active and passive leisure pursuits. The book reflects on urbanization and industrialization in relation to the need for public health measures, and the ever-diminishing physical demands of the work-place. It then evaluates the attitudes of prelates, politicians, philosophers and teachers at each stage of the process. Finally, the book explores professional and governmental initiatives to increase public involvement in active leisure through various school, worksite, recreational and sports programmes.