The term that we are going to analyze is made up of two clearly differentiated parts. Thus, in the first place it is made up of the word education whose etymological origin is found in Latin educatio which, in turn, is the result of the sum of the prefix former which means “outward”, the verb ducere which is equivalent to “guide” and the suffix –tion which is synonymous with “action.”
Secondly, there is the physical word that emanates from the Greek and more specifically from the union of two perfectly delimited parts: the term physis which can be translated as “nature” and the suffix –ica which is equal to “science”.
Make a precise definition of the physical education it is an arduous task. It is that, in the academic field, there are different conceptions and approaches referred to the term. Physical education can be an activity educational, recreational, Social, competitive or therapy, for instance.
Regarding its educational or formative meaning, physical education is a scientific-pedagogical discipline, which focuses on the body movement to reach a integral development of the physical, affective and cognitive capacities of the subject.
We said that physical education is a discipline and not one science, since it does not deal with the specific study of a certain object, but takes elements from various sciences to form its framework of application.
Regarding the integral development of the individual, physical education transcends the old idea of the human being as a sum of body, mind and soul; on the contrary, it works on all aspects of the person as a Unit.
In addition to all the above, it must be emphasized that within the scope of teaching there is the subject of Physical Education. Thus, for example, in Spain this subject is taught both in Primary and Secondary. In the first case, it focuses on the development of perceptual games, cooperative games, initiation to the different sports disciplines or body expression.
In Secondary, however, this aforementioned subject fundamentally pursues is that students acquire healthy lifestyle habits, learn to overcome their difficulties, accept their own body and improve their physical qualities. Hence, among other activities, it is committed to developing different sports such as basketball, football or tennis with which young people will learn to strive, to work as a team, to compete and also to accept their own mistakes.
The different currents of physical education can be defined according to the way in which the discipline is focused. There are currents that focus on the education (its field of action is the school and the educational system in general), in the Health (Physical education is considered as a health promoting agent, with the intention of preventing diseases), in the competence (the discipline as sports training for the development of high performance), in the recreation (playful activities to link the subject with the environment) and in the body expression (from the influence it receives from dance, yoga and music).