Before They Were Lyons: Physical Education
Mary Lyon believed that students should exercise both their brains and bodies. All students were required to walk one mile each day, and later, when the school hired Dr. Mary Homer in 1862, the requirement increased to two miles. Dr. Homer also introduced gymnastic exercises that included rings, dumbbells, and hoops, advocated for an open exercise space, and put a large emphasis on student health due to epidemics of the time. During exercise in the Blanchard Hall gymnasium, now known as the Blanchard Campus Center, students wore exercise outfits that included a flannel blouse, a long skirt, and trousers. After Mary Lyon, exercise continued through annual field days, gym work and other required outdoor exercise.