Guest Post: Historical Facts about Recreational Running Every Runner Needs to Know

RunnersCan you imagine just 60 years ago, people who could be seen jogging on the street or in the park were considered crazy and weird. Today, running for recreation is one of the most normal things and none of us even consider thinking what brought out this trend. Jogging is by definition slow running done for pleasure and health, instead of competition. If you’re also an occasional jogger, here are a few things you need to know about this healthy activity:

Ancient joggers

In the ancient times of Greece, Rome and Celts, running was a discipline usually used throughout competitions like Olympic games or festivals that commemorate the death of icons and greats. While ancient athletes used to run to become the best at the festival and enjoy glory and money, there is evidence of early forms of jogging among the general population. There are even remains of ancient mosaics that present people running with dumbbells in their hands. Because these mosaics depict women joggers, we know that these were runners for health and fun instead of competition (women were banned from the Olympics and many other sporting events).

First joggers used to get in trouble for their hobby

Let’s fast forward some 2000 years and go to the 1960s. In the 60s in the States, only brave used to jog, but most in the morning. Nightly jogs were seen as being too suspicious, even attracting police and getting joggers in trouble. And civilians were not much gentler on runners either, calling them silly. Joggers were so rare and so interesting that the newspaper regularly ran stories about people who maintained a jogging habit, especially focusing on weird women who considered this hobby fun and beneficial. You have these brave pioneers to thank for your right to jog today.

Bill Bowerman’s contribution

Obviously, running was not invented in the States in the 60s, but before that time, only professional athletes use to do it. One of the creditors we have to thank for the popularization of running all over the world is Bill Bowerman, a running coach and future co-founder of Nike. On his visit to New Zealand in the early 60s, he met with a local coach who ran a cross-country program. When Bowerman returned to the States, he wrote a pamphlet and a book on the subject and helped popularize the sport.

Celebrity endorsements

Since jogging brought great results for fitness and health, many celebrities took it as a way to stay fit. With celebrities like Steve Prefontaine who started enjoying the activity, recreational running became widely popular. Soon, one could see tank tops and running shorts on the street wherever they turned. Today, we even have special training and running leggings that help the runner feel safe and look amazing while jogging. Sports clothing is a billion-dollar industry, partially thanks to running.

Barefoot jogging

Lately, more and more joggers are choosing to practice their hobby and habit barefoot. According to experts, barefoot running is beneficial for many things like smaller collision force, higher stride frequency, better activation of muscles, etc. We’ve finally come full circle with our ancestors running barefoot to catch pray thousands of years ago. There will probably be new jogging trends in the future, so we can hope for a new revolution that will make our jogs more fun and effective.

A little bit on the word

Throughout this short history of recreational running, we’ve been mentioning the word jogging. Today, we all know what it means, but in the 16th century, it was first heard by lovers of Shakespeare’s plays. In The Taming of the Shrew (1590), Shakespeare wrote “The door is open, sir, there lies your way, you may be jogging whiles your boots are green.” While the word itself is old, it didn’t become popular in English until the second part of the 20th century and the aforementioned fitness enthusiasts. Still, many people use the words jogging and running interchangeably, but they are different.

Running for fitness and health is an activity that truly does its job. It improves health, helps people manage their weight, allows more muscle activation and helps with mental health. So as long as we have two legs to jog on, people will be engaging in this wonderful activity and enjoying hours of relaxing and fulfilling jogging.

Author Bio:

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home improvement, DIY and interior design. In her free time she enjoys reading and preparing healthy meals for her family.

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