Great Thinkers – Answering President Kennedy’s Challenge


"Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states." - Carol Welch

John F. Kennedy once observed, “We are under-exercised as a nation. We look, instead of play. We ride, instead of walk. Our existence deprives us of the minimum of physical activity essential for healthy living.”

It has been almost 50 years since this statement was made, but unfortunately it still holds true. With the advent of video games, even when we are not “looking,” playing has become an inactive activity. And with almost every American home having at least one vehicle, walking is almost unheard of.

While it is true that the number of gym memberships may be at an all time high, it is equally as true that a majority of gym memberships go unused. Although most of us have good intentions, we tend to put off exercise until tomorrow.

President Kennedy recognized, “The Greeks understood that mind and body must develop in harmonious proportions to produce a creative intelligence. And so did the most brilliant intelligence of our earliest days – Thomas Jefferson – when he said, not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise. If the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, was Secretary of State, and twice President, could give it two hours, our children can give it ten or fifteen minutes.”

Thus, in an effort to motivate, inspire and challenge us to answer the plea of President Kennedy’s speech, I have compiled a list of quotes from great modern and historic thinkers:

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”

Edward Smith-Stanley – English statesman, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“The human body is made up of some four hundred muscles; evolved through centuries of physical activity. Unless these are used, they will deteriorate.”

Eugene Lyman Fisk – Author of books on healthy living

“And I believe that the best buy in public health today must be a combination of regular physical exercise and a healthy diet.”

Julie Bishop – Australian politician and the current Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Australia

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”

Plato – Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.”

Carol Welch – Founder of BioSomatics Education, an empowering method that supports the body’s capacity to be posturally functional by overcoming neuromuscular conditions.

“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.”

Joan Welsh – Member of the Maine House of Representatives

“Exercise and temperance can preserve something of our early strength even in old age.”

Marcus Cicero – Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist

“What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?”

Randy Glasbergen – American cartoonist and humorous illustrator

“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.”

A.A. Milne – English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh

“We do not stop exercising because we grow old – we grow old because we stop exercising.”

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, MD, MPH – Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics Center

“Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood better than a hard workout on my treadmill. It never fails. To us, exercise is nothing short of a miracle.”

Cher – Award-winning American pop singer-songwriter, actress, director and record producer

“To feel ‘fit as a fiddle’, you must tone down your middle.”

Author Unknown

Author Bio: Cathryn Johnson is self proclaimed health-nut and a content writer for Online MBA Rankings who gives advice on the education, pursuing an online mba and living a healthy life. In her free time she enjoys travel, theater and having fun in the sun.

Photo: donjd2

4 thoughts on “Great Thinkers – Answering President Kennedy’s Challenge

  1. Pingback: Top 5: August 1st – Jessica Malnik

  2. legend stone

    president kennedy is my favorite president. he was the first president to promote exercise to the youth of america. in his inaugeration, he wasnt just presenting questions or statement, he was truly presenting challenges to all americans, to make a brighter future for all of us who followed.

    i believe the greatest thing a person can do for oneself is to exercise daily, and to learn from your mistakes by studying the history of the past.

    thank you, legend stone.

  3. Blueprint RSA

    Thanks for the list of inspiring quotes.. I think its about time that most of us exert effort in maintaining a clean and healthy living, instead of being stuck at home sitting long hours in front of our tv and computers. Let’s get movin’ if we want to live longer :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>