calisthenic, calisthenical, adj.
/kal'euhs then"iks/, n.
1. (used with a pl. v.) gymnastic exercises designed to develop physical health and vigor, usually performed with little or no special apparatus.
2. (used with a sing. v.) the art, practice, or a session of such exercises.
[1840-50; cali- (var. of CALLI-) + Gk sthén(os) strength + -ICS]

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Systematic rhythmic bodily exercises (e.g., jumping jacks, push-ups), usually performed without apparatus.

Calisthenics promote strength, endurance, flexibility, and general well-being by placing regular demands on the cardiovascular system. The exercises, initially conceived as primarily for women, arose in the 19th century in Germany and Sweden. Catharine Esther Beecher in the U.S. advocated women's calisthenics. As their health benefits became known, they became an activity for both sexes.

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      free body exercises performed with varying degrees of intensity and rhythm, which may or may not be done with light handheld apparatuses such as rings and wands. The exercises employ such motions as bending, stretching, twisting, swinging, kicking, and jumping, as well as such specialized movements as push-ups, sit-ups, and chin-ups.

      Calisthenics promote strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination and augment the body's general well-being by placing controllable, regular demands upon the cardiovascular system. The exercises can function as physique builders or serve as warm-ups for more-strenuous sports or exertions.

      The exercises arose in the early 19th century from the work of Germans Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and Adolf Spiess in popularizing gymnastics and were especially stressed by Per Henrik Ling of Sweden as important in the development of education for women. In the United States, Catherine Beecher (Beecher, Catharine Esther) was an early advocate of calisthenics and wrote Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families (1857). As promoted by Beecher, calisthenics were intended solely for women, but they quickly became an activity for both sexes.

      The health benefits of calisthenics were generally recognized by the beginning of the 20th century, and primary and secondary schools throughout the Western world began instituting the exercises as a regular activity. Calisthenics are also a part of military training.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Calisthenics — Cal is*then ics, n. The science, art, or practice of healthful exercise of the body and limbs, to promote strength, gracefulness, and general fitness; light gymnastics. Syn: calisthenics, calisthenic exercise, callisthenic exercise. [1913 Webster …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • calisthenics — 1847 (calisthenic is from 1839), formed on model of Fr. callisthenie, from Gk. kallos beauty + sthenos strength + ICS (Cf. ics). Originally, gymnastic exercises suitable for girls and meant to develop the figure and promote graceful movement. The …   Etymology dictionary

  • calisthenics — (Brit. callisthenics) ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement. ORIGIN from Greek kallos beauty + sthenos strength …   English terms dictionary

  • calisthenics — [kal΄is then′iks] pl.n. [< Gr kallos, beauty + sthenos, strength + ICS] exercises, such as push ups and sit ups, to develop a strong, trim body; simple gymnastics n. the art of developing bodily strength and gracefulness by such exercises… …   English World dictionary

  • Calisthenics — This article is about the form of physical exercise. For the Australian competitive performing art, see calisthenics (Australia). School children perform sit ups, a common type of calisthenic, during a school fitness …   Wikipedia

  • calisthenics — n. 1) to do calisthenics 2) daily; group, mass calisthenics …   Combinatory dictionary

  • calisthenics — noun plural but singular or plural in construction Etymology: Greek kalos beautiful + sthenos strength Date: 1827 1. systematic rhythmic bodily exercises performed usually without apparatus 2. usually singular in construction the art or …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • calisthenics — Systematic practice of various exercises with the object of preserving health and increasing physical strength. [G. kalos, beautiful, + sthenos, strength] * * * cal·is·then·ics or Brit cal·lis·then·ics iks n pl but sing or pl in constr 1)… …   Medical dictionary

  • calisthenics — [[t]kæ̱lɪsθe̱nɪks[/t]] also callisthenics N PLURAL Calisthenics are simple exercises that you can do to keep fit and healthy …   English dictionary

  • calisthenics — noun a) Gymnastic exercises, especially morning exercises, done to keep ones body healthy. b) A system of such exercises …   Wiktionary

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