Tag: Ancient Greece

Guest Post: The History of Physical Fitness

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Society often makes certain demands on the level of physical strength of its members. This is especially the case in times of primitive communal systems. Yet even then, even in ‘pre-modern’ societies, there were peculiar principles of physical education, because a person’s life was largely dependent on their physical qualities.

Today, fitness is still of paramount importance to health and well-being. With that in mind, the following post details a brief history of physical fitness.

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Drug-taking in Ancient Times

depiction-of-athletes-competing-at-the-ancient-olympic-games

Performance enhancing drugs seem to become more problematic every year. Athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster. Spectators are getting curious, suspicious and concerned. Performance enhancing drugs have touched nearly every major sport at one level or another. It’s a modern problem right?

Well not exactly…

Fitness in the Classical Age

ancient_greek_warrior_by_christopherbarton-d421cz7

Were people as concerned with being fit and healthy two thousand years ago?

The need to be fit isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact two thousand years ago, the the ability to run fast, lift heavy things and punch hard was arguably much more important than it is today. For many civilisations it was matter of life and death. Take for example the ancient Greeks who prioritized health and fitness. For the Greeks being in tip-top shape was a necessity for the sake of their Empires. Back then, fitness was a backbone of military strength.

The fight for Gold! Weightlifting at the 1896 Olympics

how-social-media-will-change-the-olympics-infographic--732a95f1051896 was a special year for athletes. Long touted in the making, 1896 marked the first Olympic Games in over 2,000 years. Through loans, promises and sheer determination, Pierre de Coubertin and his cohort of plucky fitness enthusiasts had somehow managed to organize an international sporting event comprising over 280 athletes from 14 different nations competing in ten different events. Held in Greece, the birthplace of the original Olympic Games, few could deny the importance of the modern day games.

Despite the many obstacles involved in creating such a spectacle, the first modern Olympics were heralded as a success. This was particularly true in the case of Olympic Weightlifting, which was one of the ten sporting events featured in 1896.

Today we’ll be casting our minds back over a century to examine the battle for Olympic Gold between Great Britain’s Launceston Elliot and Denmark’s Viggo Jensen.

Fitness in the Classical Age

ancient_greek_warrior_by_christopherbarton-d421cz7

Were people as concerned with being fit and healthy two thousand years ago?

The need to be fit isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact two thousand years ago, the the ability to run fast, lift heavy things and punch hard was arguably much more important than it is today. For many civilisations it was matter of life and death. Take for example the ancient Greeks who prioritized health and fitness. For the Greeks being in tip-top shape was a necessity for the sake of their Empires. Back then, fitness was a backbone of military strength.