Photo by Jonathan Colon.
Many people believe that the health and fitness craze is something new. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The history of physical fitness dates back to the beginning of mankind. People throughout history have partaken in certain physical exercises for numerous purposes. In the past, these exercises were essential to improve the individual’s strength and speed so they could escape from predators and other dangerous situations. Today, exercise is different. It is done for health and some people exercise as a hobby. Within this guide, you’ll learn a little more about the history of fitness.
When a man was living primitive nomadic lifestyles, they were forced to partake in physical activities. After all, they needed to hunt and gather food for their own survival. It was common for tribes to venture out on hunting journeys that lasted as long as one or two days. Consistent physical activity wasn’t fun and it wasn’t doing for health purposes. It was essential for the survival of the tribe. Once the tribe returned with food and water, the others would go out and celebrate. This usually included traveling over many miles to visit friends and family members in other tribes.
2500 To 250 BC
During this period of time, Confucius encourages the Chinese to participate in regular physical activities. It was understood that it would be possible to prevent and avoid certain diseases by exercising regularly. Around this time, Cong Fu exercise programs were developed. They were designed to ensure that the body was able to remain in excellent working condition. There were many other forms of physical activity for the Chinese during this time. Badminton, dancing, fencing, wrestling, and archery fall onto the list.
Eventually, the Cong Fu exercises made their way to India. Yoga also becomes very popular among the Indian population. Since then, Yoga has quickly become one of the most popular exercises in the world. It is immensely popular in today’s times too.
In The United States
In the early days, fitness in the US was largely influenced by European immigrants. At the same time, nationalism and the threats to independence forced early Americans to remain on their toes. This encourages them to remain fit. Early American leaders urged Americans to get plenty of physical activity. Benjamin Franklin encourages Americans to enjoy swimming, running and some resistant training. President Thomas Jefferson also understood the importance of fitness. He too encourages Americans to exercise.
Eventually, Physical Education classes were added to schools throughout the country. These classes intended to provide young Americans with the knowledge needed to keep themselves in physical shape. Since then, America’s fitness scene has really exploded. G&G Aesthetic and Wellness, Gold’s Gym and many other gym chains have spread across the country like wildlife. Americans are now aware of the risks of living a sedentary lifestyle. This is why so many have decided to take it upon themselves to take action and improve their health.
Technology has caused fitness levels to decrease to some degree, but most Americans are at least aware of the repercussions of a sedentary lifestyle.
Interested in Learning More?
Check out our posts on Milo of Croton, Ancient Greece and Rome and other forms of classical fitness.