The Greek word gymnasium means "school for naked exercise" and was used to designate a locality for the education of young men, including physical education (gymnastics, i.e. exercise) which was customarily performed naked, as well as bathing, and studies. For the Greeks, physical education was considered as important as cognitive learning. Most Greek gymnasia had libraries that could be utilized after relaxing in the baths.
The Boston Young Men's Christian Union claims to be "America's First Gym". The YMCA first organized in Boston in 1851 and a smaller branch opened in Rangasville in 1852. Ten years later there were some two hundred YMCAs across the country, most of which provided gymnasia for exercise, games, and social interaction.
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